Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Could Impact Thousands Of Women
In Part I of this article, I discussed the huge numbers of women potentially impacted by transvaginal mesh products, which could lead some of those women to suffer adverse complications and ultimately may need to file a lawsuit to at least recover compensation for what have sometimes been egregious injuries.
Many Thousands Of Transvaginal Lawsuits Are Currently Pending
Because of the number of lawsuits and manufacturers involved, a complicated maze of something called “multidistrict” (federal) lawsuits are underway, against numerous medical device manufacturers. One multidistrict case in particular, against transvaginal mesh manufacturer C.R. Bard, was scheduled for trial this month (December 2013), but has been delayed and rescheduled for January 10, 2014. These cases are essentially lumped together into one big lawsuit to conserve resources for all involved parties. Usually, with defective drugs or medical devices, there is one multidistrict litigation per device or drug (combining many claims), but transvaginal mesh cases are so numerous and complex, and involve so many different manufacturers, that there are numerous “MDLs” pending in West Virginia, including cases against:
- In re: American Medical Systems, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2325;
- In re: Boston Scientific Corp., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2326; and
- In re: Ethicon, Inc. (a division of Johnson & Johnson), Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2327.
There are nearly 23,000 transvaginal lawsuits pending in West Virginia, plus many thousands more pending in state courts across the country. The reason for the enormous number of lawsuits is that, allegedly, these companies knew or had reason to know that their products were unsafe, yet they manufactured and sold them for doctors to implant anyway (note that a woman who has experienced complications from transvaginal mesh devices can sue the manufacturer without suing the doctor). Plus, as stated earlier, transvaginal mesh devices have been implanted into thousands of women, often resulting in lifelong pain and other serious and permanent medical complications.
Early Case Verdicts
In one case decided earlier this year, a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $11.11 million to a woman named Linda Gross, who the jury concluded had suffered debilitating, constant pain after having the transvaginal mesh device implanted. Ms. Gross had to undergo 18 surgeries in an attempt to remove the device. Additionally, she could barely sit and intercourse was painful. The jury verdict was divided, with $3.35 million going toward this plaintiff’s “compensatory” damages, which means, essentially, her actual damages (including past and future medical care, any loss wages, and pain and suffering), and another $7.76 million against the company for something called “punitive” damages, which essentially is an amount designed to punish the company for bad behavior. In very general terms, these amounts are often higher when juries conclude that companies knew that something they were selling was likely dangerous. The goal of punitive damages is to change corporate behavior–so their amount often coincides with the wealth of the company (since a lower amount would not punish a corporate defendant worth millions or billions).
In another earlier transvaginal mesh case (2012), a California jury awarded Christine Scott $5 million dollars, after she suffered similar injuries, including eight more procedures and nine surgeries, after which doctors concluded that the device could not be removed, leaving her to deal with a lifetime of pain, and also permanently impairing her lifestyle as a runner.
Possible Associated Symptoms
Two of the most serious complications that may arise from transvaginal mesh are transvaginal mesh erosion, where the mesh erodes and passes through the vaginal walls, and organ perforation, where the eroded mesh perforates surrounding organs, such as the bladder. Other symptoms may include:
- vaginal pain or burning
- nerve damage
- painful intercourse
- recurrence of prolapse (falling organs) or incontinence
- vaginal scarring
- vaginal shrinkage
- emotional problems
- muscular problems
My Personal Opinion About Transvaginal Mesh & Medical Device Manufacturers In General
As I have said many times before, I feel very passionately that medical device manufacturers, including transvaginal mesh manufactuers, which have not properly tested and/or warned the public about known dangerous associated with their devices should be held fully accountable. As a woman who has had just a tiny glimpse at the painful world of pelvic floor problems, my heart goes out to the victims of the faulty transvaginal mesh products.
Please Call Today If You Have Been Affected
If you have received a transvaginal mesh implant, and have experienced unacceptable symptoms as a result, please contact me today. I work with co-counsel experienced in handling these types of cases and, together, we fight passionately on behalf of all of our clients. My office is located in Orlando, Florida, although I accept serious injury and accident cases all over the states of Florida & Georgia, including Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Melbourne, the Beaches, Valdosta, Macon, Atlanta, and all areas above and below.