$2 Million Verdict for Victim in Vaginal Mesh Implant Case in West Virginia
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on August 23rd, 2013
A West Virginia woman has been awarded $2 million in damages after she suffered severe pain, bleeding and bladder spasms following vaginal mesh implant surgery back in 2009.
And even more powerful, the woman’s devastating injuries and the tragic case are just the tip of the iceberg. There are some 8,000 similar lawsuits pending against the makers of the vaginal mesh devices involved in this case. Thousands of other lawsuits are also pending against the makers of similar, competing devices in the medical marketplace.
In the latest case in West Virginia, Donna Cisson, a public-health nurse from Toccoa, Georgia, sued vaginal mesh implant maker C.R. Bard after she received an Avaulta Plus implant in 2009 and began to suffer severe complications following the surgery, according to a story by Bloomberg News Service.
Cisson underwent the vaginal mesh surgery to repair internal organ collapse that she was experiencing in her pelvic area, according to the story. Following the initial installation of the device, she later had several additional surgeries to remove the materials after she began suffering pain, bleeding and bladder spasms, the story reported. Cisson blamed the Avaulta mesh for causing her injuries and pain and suffering. She was awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages by a jury for her injuries, along with an additional $1.75 million in punitive damages, according to the report. “Her lawyers argued during the two-week trial that Bard officials put profits ahead of safety by ignoring warnings about defects in the Avaulta implants,” the story reported.
Bard “pulled the Avaulta implants off the market last year after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered all makers of the devices to study rates of organ damage, infection and pain during sex linked to their products,” Bloomberg reported. “Jurors found that Bard officials defectively designed the Avaulta implants and failed to properly warn doctors and women about the mesh’s flaws. They also found that company officials’ mishandling of the devices amounted to ‘malice, fraud or wantonness’ that deserved punishment, according to the verdict form in the case,” reported Bloomberg.
In February 2013, another vaginal mesh surgery victim, Linda Gross, 47, of Watertown, S.D., was awarded $11.1 million in damages for her injuries, which were caused by multiple surgeries that left her with serious pain and ongoing health problems. That case was the first verdict in about 4,000 lawsuits filed by plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson. In that case, the jury ruled that while the product used in Gross’ surgeries was not defectively designed, “the company did not give surgeons adequate warnings about risks of the product and that a misrepresentation was made to Gross,” according to a story at that time by The Associated Press.
Vaginal mesh implants, which were a popular alternative to traditional hysterectomies in patients in recent years, are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP), which occurs in women when the cervix, uterus, bladder or other reproductive organs slip down into the vagina due to the weakening of pelvic muscles. To treat such patients, surgeons often have turned to surgical mesh products that allow the reconstruction of the pelvic walls. The surgical mesh is designed to keep the organs in place and resolve the painful and debilitating medical complications caused by POP. Instead, however, many women who undergo the surgery have been finding out that the supposed “cure” is as bad or worse than the condition they were suffering in the first place. The use of the surgical mesh products have often caused higher rates of pain, bleeding and infection than surgery involving traditional stitches, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report.
In 2010, there were at least 100,000 POP repairs that used surgical mesh, according to statistics from the FDA. About 75,000 of these were transvaginal procedures, or surgeries that were performed through the vagina.
The Cisson and Gross cases are tragic examples of injuries that have been becoming all too common in the last few years, and it has led to an increasing number of lawsuits against the makers of other such devices, including Bard, of Murray Hill, N.J., and Endo Health Solutions Inc. of Chadds Ford, Pa.
In June of 2012, Johnson & Johnson announced that it would stop selling four types of surgical mesh implant products. The mesh products had been linked to injuries and triggered about 600 lawsuits against the company at that time. J&J said the products were safe and that its action wasn’t a recall of the products, but just an end to their sales.
In November 2012, a Texas woman sued another vaginal mesh manufacturer for causing serious injuries after her procedures.
Women have been injured through these kinds of surgeries because the vaginal mesh manufacturers released and sold products which continue to be problematic for thousands of patients. Instead of being led by concerns over clear patterns of serious medical problems from these products, the manufacturers continue to be motivated only by profit and sales, harming the patients who are being victimized by vaginal mesh implants.
Serious injuries due to defective vaginal mesh products are a real health problem for a growing number of women across the United States. Patients who suffer from the crippling injuries caused by these defective mesh devices need skilled, compassionate and dedicated legal teams to help them recover damages for their injuries, pain and suffering.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer stand ready to assist you with your legal case if you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a case involving vaginal mesh devices and products anywhere in the United States. We represent the families of victims as well, to ensure that their families receive every penny of damages that they are eligible to receive.
Call MyPhillyLawyer at 215-227-2727 or toll-free at 1-866-920-0352 anytime and our experienced, aggressive team of attorneys and support staff will be there for you and your family every step of the way as we manage your case through the legal system.
When Winning Matters Most, Call MyPhillyLawyer.