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Bard Avaulta: Hope for TVM Mesh Sufferers

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Atlantic City, NJA recent jury award totaling $11.1 million for a transvaginal mesh plaintiff serves as hope for the hundreds of other plaintiffs pursuing an Avaulta lawsuit, together with those chasing more than 30 other manufacturers of the allegedly faulty product.

Late last month, a jury in New Jersey awarded plaintiff Linda Gross $7.76 million in punitive damages, in addition to a $3.35 million compensatory award previously won by the plaintiff. Both awards are being appealed by the defendant in this particular case, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J). However, the win by Gross (subject to J&J losing the appeal) serves as a beacon for other transvaginal mesh sufferers, including those who have been having problems with Avaulta mesh.

And there are a lot of them - well over a thousand reports of major problems with the Bard Avaulta mesh implant since 2005, with hundreds of those participating in the C.R. Bard multidistrict litigation MDL No. 2187 in the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under Chief Judge Joseph R. Goodwin. Those trials are just getting underway.

And while Bard mesh is only one of several similar products on the market, the complications suffered by women are also similar across the entire product spectrum.

Plaintiff Linda Gross, who did not have the Bard Avaulta but a competing product manufactured by J&J, nonetheless experienced horrific adverse events related to her mesh implant. Further, according to Bloomberg News (2/28/13), the plaintiff was required to undergo no fewer than 18 subsequent surgical procedures in an effort to address the problems allegedly caused by her transvaginal mesh.

That case is Gross v. Gynecare Inc., Atl-L-6966-10, Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey (Atlantic City).

This past July, a Kern County Superior Court jury awarded Avaulta pelvic mesh plaintiff Christine Scott and her spouse $5.5 million. According to 17 KGET Television (7/23/12), the former runner was the picture of good health until she received the Bard mesh product. Her health has deteriorated ever since.

According to the report, Scott received the Avaulta mesh system in order to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) - a common complaint among middle-aged women who have borne children. In Scott’s case, however, the problematic mesh migrated toward her colon, cutting her colon in the process and allowing tissue to grow through the tiny holes in the mesh. As of July 2012, Scott had already undergone eight surgical procedures in an attempt to correct the problems allegedly fostered by the Bard Avaulta mesh.

“The hardest part, I will tell you, through this whole thing, is having to keep quiet, watching women still get hurt,” Scott said in comments reported by the television station and posted at 17 KGET.com (7/23/12). “But, I was legally not able to get out there and [divulge the details] and [for] that, I’m sorry,” said Scott at the time of the verdict, reportedly holding back tears. “And, that every day I was like, please be over so I can talk. So, when I got that verdict it was like ‘Thank you God.’ Now we can do something.”

According to Bloomberg News (7/25/12), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that pelvic mesh, including Bard Avaulta, should be considered high risk for the treatment of SUI and Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). More than 30 manufacturers of transvaginal mesh, including Bard, have been ordered by the FDA to continue studying their product post-market.

“I don't know if I’ll have ten surgeries now,” Scott told 17 KGET in June 2012, about a month prior to the verdict. “I don’t know if I’ll have one. I don’t know if I’ll have 100. The doctors cannot tell me.”

The case is Scott v. Kannappan, S-1500-CV-266034-WDE, Superior Court for Kern County, California (Bakersfield). Dr. Tillakarasi Kannappan, the surgeon who implanted the Avaulta mesh into the plaintiff, was deemed by the jury to be 40 percent responsible for Scott’s problems, with Bard taking 60 percent. However, claims against Kannappan were severed from the Bard case in 2011, and the surgeon was not a defendant in the subsequent trial.

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