Even as a renowned expert testified that surgical mesh manufacturers were aware of the risks associated with their products, lawsuits were being filed against the product’s manufacturers across the country. There are many manufacturers involved in the multidistrict litigation (MDL). American Medical Systems, C.R. Bard Inc., Coloplast Corp., Boston Scientific, and Johnson and Johnson’s unit Ethicon are the defendants in the widespread vaginal mesh or bladder mesh lawsuit. Meshes are primarily used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Too Many Complaints to Ignore
Transvaginal meshes were first introduced in the late 1990′s and were seen as a better option to traditional surgery. Here, doctors put in a synthetic mesh to either support organs that have prolapsed or as a remedial measure for incontinence, depending on the patient. However, complications associated with the mesh have been frequently reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These include mesh erosion through the vagina, pain, infection, bleeding, organ perforation, and urinary problems. Recurrent prolapses, neuro-muscular problems, and vaginal scarring are some of the less common side-effects of using the mesh.
Dr Uwe Klinge, a globally-known expert on the biocompatibility of surgical meshes, has testified that he had informed Ethicon officials about the precautions to be taken in order to ensure the safety of patients using their Prolift mesh kit through a talk on the topic. Dr Klinge, appearing before a jury in New Jersey Superior Court, claimed that surgical meshes used in the pelvis have to be extremely lightweight with pores that are about one millimeter in all directions. He said that he had voiced these concerns to Ethicon executives before they began marketing their product which was considerably heavier and larger.
One Step at a Time
Boston Scientific recalled its ProteGen kit in 1999, while Johnson and Johnson’s product was recalled in June 2012. C.R.Bard Inc. stopped selling its Avaulta Plus in July 2012. Bellwether trials in the consolidated litigations in the U.S. District for the Southern District of Western Virginia are expected to start soon. A bellwether trial is a way of testing the waters and is common in cases with numerous plaintiffs. A few chosen cases will be tried before a jury and the verdicts on these will normally set a precedent for settlements or negotiations in the subsequent cases. Remember, if you or a family member or loved one has been injured by a mesh product please contact the Advocates for Justice for a free consultation.