Thousands of women have suffered personal injury due to complications with transvaginal mesh implants. A verdict has been decided in one the first lawsuits related to these victims. In New Jersey, a jury awarded Linda Gross of South Dakota punitive damages of $7.76 million from Johnson & Johnson. Gross previously won compensatory damages of $3.35 million for a total of $11.1 million in damages.
Ms. Gross received the implant of Johnson & Johnson’s Gynecare Prolift to help her with weakened pelvic muscles. Following the implant she suffered constant pain and had to undergo 18 operations. She alleged that Johnson & Johnson and the Ethicon unit fraudulently misled her regarding the risks of the vaginal mesh and did not adequately warn her surgeon of the device’s risks. The jury, which consisted of three women and six men, elected not to comment on their decision.
Transvaginal mesh is used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. It is often made of polypropylene or polyester and is implanted into the vagina in order to reinforce the wall of the vagina. On October 20, 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement after receiving more than 1,000 reports of transvaginal-mesh-use complications. Following this statement, another 2,900 reports were received. Common transvaginal mesh complication symptoms include pain, mesh erosion through vaginal tissue, urinary problems, recurrence of incontinence or a prolapse, and infection. Furthermore, the FDA amended its position on complication frequency, stating that pelvic organ prolapse repair vaginal mesh injuries weren’t a rare occurrence. Other, less commonly reported problems include bladder, bowel, and blood vessel perforation during implantation.
The pain, missed work, medical bills and additional surgeries that can result from transvaginal mesh complications can place a severe financial and emotional burden on victims. Sufferers of these complications who were not adequately warned of the risks are encouraged to contact a drug safety attorney to explore their options for financial compensation and relief.