A status conference is scheduled for Dec. 5 for federal vaginal mesh lawsuits filed in West Virginia against device maker Ethicon Inc. The U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia will hear matters related to vaginal mesh lawsuits filed against the device maker at the status conference.
Thousands of Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Now Pending Against Ethicon
Overall, more than 10,000 vaginal mesh lawsuits are pending against Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, over its Gynecare products. An additional 4,400 mesh lawsuits were filed at the state level and are pending in New Jersey’s Atlantic County Superior Court. The products cause mesh erosion in some plaintiffs. Yet others experienced chronic pain and organ damage, according to Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a representing law firm.
Many of those who suffered these side effects were only able to correct the complications through surgical implant removal. Six lawsuits are pending in West Virginia’s Southern District Court.
Background of Vaginal Mesh
Litigation for mesh implant lawsuits began in 2011 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported it was receiving more reports of patients experiencing side effects from the devices. The FDA first put out a warning that the mesh implants could cause serious health complications in 2008. But in July 2011, the federal health agency updated its warning, saying serious complications associated with transvaginal mesh are “not rare.”
“This is a change from what the FDA previously reported on Oct. 20, 2008,” the FDA said. “Furthermore, it is not clear that transvaginal POP repair with mesh is more effective than traditional non-mesh repair in all patients with POP and it may expose patients to greater risk.”
From 2008 to 2010, the FDA received 2,874 additional reports of vaginal mesh side effects. About 1,503 of them were associated with patients who had the devices implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP). An additional 1,371 reports were associated with stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
“Although it is common for adverse event reporting to increase following an FDA safety communication, we are concerned that the number of adverse event reports remains high,” the agency said.
Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Cite Erosion Injuries
POP patients reported events of mesh erosion through the vagina, along with infection, pain and bleeding. Organ perforation and urinary problems were also reported, as were neuro-muscular problems, vaginal scarring/shrinkage and emotional issues. The FDA said many of these issues required hospitalization and surgical procedures.
Mesh contraction (shrinkage) was not an identified risk at the time FDA issued its 2008 warning, the agency said. Reports of the complication were sent to the FDA following its warning that year, which detailed cases of mesh contraction with vaginal shortening, vaginal tightening and vaginal pain. The FDA said mesh erosion as well as contraction can cause severe pelvic pain.
Due to these adverse reports, the FDA advised health care providers to treat POP without mesh implants. Doctors and patients should consider the risk factors before getting the permanent implant. In fact, it can “involve multiple surgeries and significantly impair the patient’s quality of life,” the agency said.
What You Can Do
If you were injured by vaginal mesh, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the manufacturer. Start your free vaginal mesh claim review now and an attorney will contact you to discuss your case.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.