U.S. woman awarded $3.35M in transvaginal mesh lawsuit
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 4:34PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 25, 2013 6:48PM EST
A U.S. jury has awarded a former nurse US$3.35 million dollars for pain and suffering caused by her transvaginal mesh implant, and for not being properly warned by the product’s maker -- Ethicon -- a division of Johnson and Johnson.
It’s the first ruling of the more than 2,100 lawsuits filed over this particular device, though there are thousands of other lawsuits in the U.S pending over a variety of surgical meshes. The mesh, inserted through the vaginal wall, supports pelvic organs that have dropped into the vagina, which can happen to women after childbirth, a hysterectomy or menopause.
Linda Gross, 47, paid 400 visits to doctors and physical therapists since having the mesh implanted in 2006, including 18 operations to try to repair the damage.
The jury also ruled that while Johnson and Johnson did not design the mesh to be defective, the company failed to warn Gross’s implanting surgeon of all the known potential complications. Last year, Ethicon removed four trans-vaginal meshes from the market.
Jurors in the case are due back in court Tuesday morning to discuss the possibility of punitive damages, which could be five times compensatory damage, or $350,000, whichever is greater.
Gross, who had worked as a nurse, is now unable to sit for longer than 20 minutes. She has to insert a catheter in order to relieve herself and has pain in her legs and pelvis.
Last June, a California woman was awarded $5.5 million in her case against another trans-vaginal mesh made by Bard. That decision is being appealed.
There are several thousand lawsuits underway in the U.S related to a variety of vaginal surgical meshes. In Canada there are about 1,000 women also suing, individually or as part of class-action lawsuits.
Lawyer Matthew Baer, from Siskins LLP, who is representing Canadian clients in a lawsuit, called the New Jersey decision a “bellwether trial” that will set the landscape for future cases.
“It tells us that we are doing the right thing in moving ahead with our cases,” Baer told CTV News.