When patients agree to have a medical device surgically implanted in their bodies, they trust that the surgeons know what they’re doing, and that the device is safe and will be effective. Indeed, when the only way to remove the device is through a second surgical operation, a patient must place a lot of faith in the people who created it. Unfortunately, sometimes medical device companies rush their products to market before they are ready, and patients are badly injured as a result.
This issue of trust is at the heart of long-running product liability litigation involving transvaginal mesh devices. Used primarily as a treatment for pelvic prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, the mesh products have been implanted in thousands of women. Unfortunately, medical professionals and government regulators have reported widespread problems with the devices.
In many cases, defects in the devices lead to serious health problems for the patients. Some of the mesh products erode, leaving jagged pieces of material inside the patient’s body. In particularly difficult cases, these pieces cut into internal organs, causing internal bleeding.
Many women have filed lawsuits against the designers and manufacturers of the mesh devices. Recently, a jury awarded $80 million to a woman who said her implant eroded, causing pain, infection and more. The jury found the device was defective and that Ethicon, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, had failed to adequately warn doctors and patients of its risks. As a result, the jury found the company should be held liable for $30 million in actual damages to the woman, and awarded her another $50 million in punitive damages to punish the company for what it found to be egregious behavior.
Medical device product liability cases are technically and legally difficult. It’s important for the injured and their families to get help from a lawyer with experience in product liability cases.