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Philadelphia Jury Awards $20 Million in Surgical Mesh Trial

Gavel and stethoscope A Cinnaminson, NJ woman was awarded $20 million in damages by a Philadelphia jury after suffering injuries related to a vaginal mesh product manufactured by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and resolved in late April, the jury agreed that the surgical mesh device failed to work as advertised by the manufacturer, and that it caused the woman chronic pain and the need for multiple revision surgeries.

The three-week trial focused on a vaginal mesh product manufactured by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson which produces a plastic surgical grade mesh used to in procedures to treat pelvic organ prolapse, stress urinary incontinence, and other conditions.

As the complaint states, the woman had undergone a procedure for her stress urinary incontinence using Ethicon’s TVT-Secur transvaginal mesh product. After just two months, her physician discovered erosion in the material. Due to increasing and chronic pain, the woman was forced to endure three separate surgeries to remove the eroding mesh. Despite the multiple surgeries, portions of the mesh product remain in here body, and cause her urinary dysfunction and chronic pain.

In addition to alleging that the TVT-Secure mesh was defectively designed and prone to complications, the woman also argued that the product was improperly marketed. Specifically, it was alleged that Johnson & Johnson failed to properly warn consumers about the product and potential risks, failed to provide adequate instructions, and that despite knowing about increased risks associated with the product, still released the TVT-secure mesh for public use.

In response to the woman’s claims, Ethicon argued that there was no evidence the company failed to warn surgeons who perform pelvic floor surgeries of risks not within common medical knowledge, and that medical device manufacturers do not have a legal obligation to warn of risks within common knowledge of treating doctors in New Jersey. The tipping point in the case came during cross-examination, when a former consultant learned for the first time of a study highlighting the dangers of pelvic mesh that was circulated internally within the company.

Ultimately, the jury sided with the woman, awarding her $2.5 million for her economic and non-economic damages, including her extensive medical bills associated with the multiple revision surgeries. The jury also awarded $17.5 million in punitive damages against Ethicon, an indication that the jury viewed the company’s conduct as egregiously negligent and willfully careless.

The $20 million verdict is one of several large verdicts awarded against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson over mesh devices that have been found to pose increase risks of injuries and complications, including revision surgeries resulting from mesh erosion. The TVT-Secur mesh product, as well as other Gynecare and transvaginal mesh devices manufactured by Ethicon, have come under scrutiny following mounting evidence of adverse effects on patients and a number of reports filed with the FDA. Many of these products, including TVT-Secur, have been recalled by Johnson & Johnson.

Despite recalls, many patients have already undergone procedures using surgical mesh devices manufactured by Ethicon and have suffered preventable injuries as a result. If you or someone you love has had surgical mesh implanted during a procedure and have experienced complications, pain, infection, or the need for painful revision surgery, you might have a potential case for compensation.

Our legal team at The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D & Associates is actively investigating cases involving surgical mesh injuries, and is readily available to review your case and discuss how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. For a FREE consultation with a medical malpractice attorney from our firm, contact us today.