Last May, the FDA warned about problems with surgical clips, such as the Weck Hem-o-Lok Ligating Clip, used to close the kidney artery during surgeries that require the intentional transection of blood vessels. The most notable of these clips is the Hem-o-lock clips, but they are just one of a number of clips available to surgeons. The problem is surgeons are continuing to use these Hem-o-Lok clips and as a result, patients are suffering injuries and death from excessive bleeding. The tragedy is that the victims are often the noblest of us, kidney donors.
When the donor’s kidney is removed (called a nephrectomy), the artery that supplies that kidney must be transected and sealed. In spite of the FDA’s loud warning that “Weck Hem-o-Lok Ligating Clips should NOT be used” to seal off the artery that supplies the kidney because of “serious risks to the donor,” many surgeons just kept on going as they had, either out of ignorance or arrogance, in spite of multiple letters to hospitals warning about the risk of problems with these surgical clips for kidney donors. One possible reason for the surgeon’s ignorance: there are no clear warnings on the box notifying doctor’s of what the FDA has said about used Hem-o-lock clips.
These clips have been really useful in many laparoscopic procedures. Hopefully, they keep designing and building them safe.
In 2016, there was a recall of for the Auto Endo5 Hemolok Automatic Clip Applier.