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Bellwether Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits Scheduled

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Pierre, SDAs some transvaginal mesh lawsuits wind down, others are just about to make their way to court. The allegations in the transvaginal mesh complaints are that women were seriously harmed by the use of various mesh products, and specifically, that transvaginal mesh complications resulted in permanent pain and suffering for the patient.

That was the basis of a lawsuit filed by Linda Gross, a nurse who was diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse seven years ago, and had the Gynecare Prolift implanted. Although the surgery itself went well, Linda experienced severe pain and had difficulty with bladder function. Five months after having the Gynecare mesh implanted, she had it removed, and therein lay a huge problem.

Gross’ tissue was interwoven with the mesh, so removing the device was not as easy as implanting it. In fact, she reportedly required 22 surgeries to remove the mesh, with pieces of it still inside her. Gross told a PBS interviewer (3/22/13) that she and her husband called the manufacturer of the mesh at least five times, but did not receive any assistance from the company. After filing a lawsuit against Ethicon, maker of the mesh, Gross was awarded $11.1 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Ethicon has said it will appeal the award. Gross’ trial was reportedly the first trial regarding Ethicon’s transvaginal mesh.

A joint status conference was scheduled for April 18, regarding lawsuits filed against a variety of vaginal mesh makers. Those companies included Coloplast, CR Bard Inc, Boston Scientific Corp, and American Medical Systems Holdings Inc, according to Bloomberg Businessweek (4/17/13).

Meanwhile, bellwether trials have been set for lawsuits concerning CR Bard’s Avaulta mesh products. According to Inside Counsel (3/27/13), the first bellwether trial will begin on June 11, 2013. In all, four Avaulta mesh lawsuits were selected as bellwether trials. The bellwether trials allow plaintiffs and defendants to determine how similar lawsuits in the future might be decided and to show the relative merits of each side’s case.

Among the side effects reported with transvaginal mesh are mesh erosion through the vaginal tissue, infection and pain.

Linda Gross’ story can be seen on the PBS series, Need to Know. A transcript of the episode is online at pbs.org. The Avaulta multidistrict litigation is In re: C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair Systems Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2187.

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