Johnson & Johnson has again been ordered to pay out millions to a woman who suffered serious injuries after being implanted with one of their vaginal mesh devices. In Philadelphia, A jury found for a plaintiff and awarded a $20 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon division, over complications with the Ethicon TVT-Secur transvaginal mesh. This Ethicon case was the third to be tried in Philadelphia and, so far, the largest punitive damages award in that court.
Including the Johnson and Johnson cases, there are currently over 100,000 lawsuits relating to transvaginal mesh devices. Use of transvaginal mesh to repair pelvic organ prolapse became widespread in spite of early reports of problems caused by the mesh. While manufacturers insistence on the safety of the devices, patients suffered horrific complications following implantation of pelvic mesh during uro-gynecological surgeries to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.
In this case the plaintiff had been implanted with the Ethicon TVT-Secur in 2007 as treatment for stress urinary incontinence. Within a month after surgery her condition returned and within two months her doctor found that the mesh had already begun to erode. As a result of the plastic device eroding into her vagina, the plaintiff endured extreme pain and discomfort and was forced to undergo three separate removal surgeries. During the trial it was also revealed that the plaintiff pieces still has pieces of the TVT-Secur in her body that cause chronic pain and pelvic floor spasms. To add insult to injury, the plaintiff also still suffers from the original incontinence issue the mesh implant was intended to address.
This was the third multi-million dollar verdict in an Ethicon vaginal mesh lawsuit trial held in Philadelphia and three additional Ethicon mesh trials are scheduled over the next two months. Previously, in February 2016, a jury awarded a woman $13.5 million. That followed a December 2015 trial, which resulted in a $12.5 million award for the plaintiff.
From their inception these dangerous mesh products were defective and have caused a myriad of painful and debilitating injuries in thousands of patients. Women who had a vaginal mesh or bladder sling implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence were put at needless risk and suffered catastrophic complications from these medical devices.
I am surprised that with the thousands of personal injury and product liability lawsuits against the makers of these defective mesh products that Ethicon still continues to resist any type of comprehensive settlements. While women continue to suffer, the only response from Ethicon after the Philadelphia verdicts is that they intend to appeal.