New Jersey Jury Rules Against J&J In Transvaginal Mesh Bellwether Trial
Linda Gross, the 47-year-old nurse whose personal injury case was the first bellwether trial in a large multidistrict litigation
The jury began the deliberation process on February 19th, but paused to re-hear some filmed testimony on February 23rd. Today, they have reconvened and decided that medical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and its subsidiary Ethicon, failed to properly warn doctors and surgeons about the complications of their Prolift transvaginal mesh device. Because of that, medical professionals were unable to properly discuss options with their patients to treat pelvic organ prolapse and related complications.
The verdict is part of a massive litigation against Ethicon/J&J for their Gynecare Prolift transvaginal mesh device. The medical manufacturer faces more than 2,000 additional personal injury lawsuits in Atlantic City because of their failed transvaginal mesh.
Ms. Gross testified that she had had 18 surgeries to remove the transvaginal mesh, none of which had been able to completely remove the device. Her organs had grown around the mesh, causing severe pain and infection. She had undergone over 400 medical encounters, including office visits, physical therapy, surgeries, and prescriptions for pain medication. She testified that she had to resign her job as a nurse, and she rarely left the house due to her pain.
Her doctors also testified about the technical aspects of her ongoing treatment. She had the Prolift transvaginal mesh device implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse in 2006.
“This verdict establishes that Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon failed to tell physicians and women the truth about the catastrophic complications that can result from the Prolift,” Gross attorney Adam Slater said in an interview.
The jury ruled that Ethicon/J&J failed to warn Gross’s implanting surgeon, and awarded Gross $3.35 million in damages. However, the verdict did not rule that Ethicon’s product was designed defectively, or that it made fraudulent representations.
Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee is now considering whether Gross and her attorneys can pursue punitive damages, which specifically punish the company. If so, the same jury would then hear evidence and decide whether or not to award additional damages. New Jersey caps punitive damages at five times the compensatory damages, so Ms. Gross could potentially be awarded up to $16.75 million in total.
Texas Study Shows Serious Faults with Transvaginal Mesh
Researchers in Texas and Louisiana collaborated to track dozens of transvaginal mesh patients over a five-year span, from 2006 to 2011. The researchers, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the Louisiana State University Health in Shreveport, La., found that, of 58 women treated in the time span, only ¼ were relieved of symptoms that the transvaginal mesh was intended to treat.
More than 1/3 of the patients went through at least one mesh removal surgery.
“Most women presented with multiple complaints, with mesh extrusion the most frequently reported (n = 43 [74%]). Of the 58 women, 17 (29%) required re-excision of residual mesh, 13 once and 4 twice. Five women developed recurrent symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse (7%). The residual rate of dyspareunia and pelvic pain was 14% and 22%, respectively. Fourteen women (24%) were treated successfully, with complete resolution of all presenting symptoms,” the study showed.
The FDA summarizes transvaginal mesh complications as follows: “From 2008-2010, the most frequent complications reported to the FDA for surgical mesh devices for POP repair include mesh erosion through the vagina, pain, infection, bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), organ perforation, and urinary problems. There were also reports of recurrent prolapse, neuro-muscular problems, vaginal scarring/shrinkage, and emotional problems. Many of these complications require additional intervention, including medical or surgical treatment and hospitalization.”
The Strom Law Firm Represents Women in Transvaginal Mesh Personal Injury Cases
If you or a loved one have had surgery involving transvaginal mesh, and have since suffered painful side effects including bleeding, infection, organ perforation, and constant pain in the lower extremities, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the suffering caused by defective devices like transvaginal mesh, and can help with your case. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss your concerns, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.