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Lawyer Blog: Baltimore, MD

Second Award of Large Punitive Damages against Pelvic Mesh/Transvaginal Tape Maker

Pelvic Injury

In mid-February of 2016, a Philadelphia jury socked Ethicon, Inc., a unit of Johnson & Johnson, with a $13.5 million judgment because of a transvaginal tape (TVT) product called Prolift. (TVT products are also known as pelvic mesh products.) Nearly three-fourths of the award, $10 million, consisted of punitive damages. Punitive damages mean that the amount has the intention of punishing Ethicon for an intentional or reckless act. This most recent verdict follows on the heels of a similar verdict, in Philadelphia during December of 2015, when $12.5 million was awarded to another sufferer, with the total including $7 million in punitive damages for marketing an unsafe product.

What is TVT/Pelvic Mesh?

TVT and other pelvic mesh products are often used to correct stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). But it has been charged that the pores in the mesh are too small, rendering the Prolift device defective because it promotes excessive scar tissue growth. An additional complication is that removing the mesh is difficult to do and sometimes does not alleviate the pain or other side effects.

The women in question both claimed that the faulty mesh left them with frequent to nearly constant pain and also prevented them from having sex. Their problems have persisted even after the removal of various parts of the mesh product that were protruding into surrounding tissue and organs. In both cases, the doctors claimed they would not have used the products if they had been adequately warned of the dangers.

In most of the 177 cases that comprise the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas pelvic mesh mass tort, Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon are joint defendants. These cases are part of a nationwide blizzard of suits that the companies face: around 44,400 of them.

Serious Side Effects

In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Public Health Notification about pelvic mesh, along with an update in 2011. In both notices, the FDA cited the risk of serious complications that were linked to the use of transvaginal mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Thus, the dangers of using these products were known as many as eight years ago.

The most common side effects associated with transvaginal mesh products are:

  • Erosion of the mesh through the vagina
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Urinary problems
  • Organ perforation
  • Pain during sexual intercourse, or inability to have intercourse.

Correcting these problems usually requires additional surgery or surgeries to remove the mesh and to repair injured tissues.

We’re Listening. Tell Us Your Complaint.

Individuals in Maryland and all fifty states that are harmed by faulty products have the right to make a claim against the manufacturer. Nearly 30 million injuries have resulted from defective consumer products, faulty products, manufacturing defects, and unsafe products.

At the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, we know how traumatic an injury from a defective product can be for both the injured person and for his or her family. If you or a family member has suffered because of a faulty product, call Baltimore product injury attorney Steve Heisler. Keep in mind, however, that there is a statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing personal injury claims, so you should not delay. Contact the Law Offices of “The Injury Lawyer,” Steven H. Heisler of Baltimore, Maryland, for a free initial consultation by calling (410) 625-4878 today.