"I had exactly the same problems that Panacryl sutures caused," says Groff. "These Vicryl sutures caused granulomas (small areas of inflammation due to tissue injury) and my doctor called them 'spitting sutures'. He told me that my body would absorb them within a few months, but that never happened.
"In 2005 I had surgery for an ACL reconstruction - I tore a ligament in my knee—and was sent home to recover. But exactly one week later I developed a fever and had extreme pain in my knee that had the surgery. I noticed a red blotch like a burn right above it and the pain got so bad that I went back to ER.
My white cell count was very high - a sign of infection. The ER doctor drained my knee that night and said I needed surgery right away to clear the infection. They did surgery first thing in the morning. I was in hospital for four days with a pic line pumping heavy antibiotics into my vein. They assigned an infectious disease doctor to me and he prescribed more antibiotics to take home.
During my post-op visits to the orthopedic doctor I would complain that pus was coming out of the incision and the sutures were spitting—they were coming up through my skin and it was an awful pain. At one point he took a few sutures out and said it was 'nothing abnormal'. But how normal is 18 months and three more surgeries to finally get rid of the problem? The diagnosis was MRSA—a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotics. I still don't know if I am completely rid of this infection but I do know those sutures stayed in my body for a very long time.
I asked the original surgeon, the one who performed the surgery on my knee, why it kept getting infected. He doubted it could be from the surgery because it didn't happen right away. He said I possibly had a bacteria on my skin that could have caused it. But this infection was deep in my knee so it was obvious that something had gone wrong during the surgery. At the time I had no idea these sutures could have been the cause.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
I've lost a lot of money—even with Blue Cross I am in a lot of debt. And I missed almost three months of work; I work for a non-profit company so I was lucky because they hired me back. I am only 35 and it's going to be a long haul to get back on my feet again, both physically and financially.
I know about the lawsuit against Panacryl but even if there isn't a lawsuit against Vicryl, I want to warn others to stay away from this product. I wouldn't wish this pain on my worst enemy, not even the people at Ethicon. But they should be held responsible. I don't know about Vicryl but I do know they didn't test the Panacryl sutures enough.