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Should I File A Pelvic Mesh Lawsuit?

Did you know that hundreds of thousands of pelvic mesh lawsuits have been filed in the US? Made of synthetic netting, pelvic mesh is a permanent implant that helps treat various pelvic issues. Have you or a loved one suffered complications from pelvic mesh? We can help you file a pelvic mesh lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Hampton & King here for a free consultation. 

It looks like a harmless little piece of netting. But it’s right up there with the top offenders in faulty medical devices. Keep reading to learn more.

Is Pelvic Mesh Dangerous?

Pelvic mesh might seem harmless. It has helped many women deal with debilitating incontinence. Doctors have also prescribed it for pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition in which pelvic organs drop into the vagina. But this simple product is also the subject of hundreds of thousands of pelvic mesh lawsuits over the last decade. 

Also known as transvaginal mesh, this device is surgically placed in a woman’s vaginal wall to support weakened tissue. For most women, the mesh does its job. It has a high success rate for treating incontinence. But the risk of complications is higher when it’s used to cure pelvic organ prolapse. 

Sometimes, pelvic mesh can cause serious problems. The most common issue is a defect that causes the mesh to erode. The eroded mesh can puncture organs and cause internal bleeding. When that happens, a patient will need surgery to remove all the eroded mesh fragments. 

Other complications include:

  • Vaginal scarring
  • Fistula formation
  • Organ perforation
  • Chronic vaginal drainage
  • Painful sex
  • Bleeding
  • Urinary problems
  • Infections
  • Severe pain in the pelvis, back, and legs

So is pelvic mesh dangerous? If the high number of pelvic mesh lawsuits is any clue, this device is not as safe as once thought. Manufacturing companies often tout it as less invasive than surgery. But according to NHS (National Health Service) data, 1 in 15 women eventually need to have the mesh removed. 

Also, the FDA has changed its mind about just how risky this device is as a treatment for POP. In September 2011, it reclassified it from a “moderate risk” to a “high-risk” medical device.  Australia has banned using the mesh to treat POP altogether.  

How Negligence Leads To Pelvic Mesh Lawsuits

All medical devices come with risks. When product companies and doctors inform patients about those risks, they may not be liable when something goes wrong. So when can you file a pelvic mesh lawsuit against a manufacturer or health care provider? When they are negligent. What counts as negligence? We’ll give you some common examples below:

  • Patients don’t have the opportunity to give their informed consent. For example, in one pelvic mesh lawsuit case, doctors told a woman she was going to get a “bladder lift” to treat incontinence. They didn’t tell her that the bladder lift would involve a permanent mesh implant. 
  • Doctors play down the risks. This has been the case in many pelvic mesh lawsuits. In the 2000s, mesh became  the “go-to” treatment for incontinence and POP. Both manufacturers and doctors made products seem safer than we now know them to be. 
  • Devices weren’t properly tested. If a product doesn’t go through stringent testing, it shouldn’t be on the market. 
  • Products have a defective design. One common denominator with many mesh manufacturers is that the mesh was designed for tissue to grow into it. This is meant to correct bladder issues by creating extra support. But when the product erodes into surrounding tissue, it’s almost impossible to remove. 
  • The surgeons don’t implant the product correctly. Or, they don’t place it in the right area. 

“It’s Been a Nightmare”: A $20 Million Pelvic Mesh Lawsuit Settlement

If Peggy Engleman had known just how much grief the pelvic mesh would cause her, she would never have agreed to have it implanted. In 2007, she had surgery for urinary incontinence. The mesh that surgeons placed in her body eroded just weeks later. After enduring intense pain and discomfort, she had multiple surgeries to remove the faulty device. Some fragments remain in her body to this day. 

 Engleman filed a pelvic mesh lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon. Her attorneys claimed that the manufacturers knew about the device’s risks but didn’t disclose them. A jury awarded her a $20 million dollar pelvic mesh lawsuit settlement. It was one of the largest in history. 

“I am happy I could be a voice for other women,” Engleman told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s been a nightmare, and I feel justice was truly served today.”

A Lawsuit Pile Up

The first pelvic mesh lawsuit went to court in 2012. C.R. Bard, a transvaginal mesh manufacturer, lost a $3.6 million verdict to a victim. They took their product, Avaulta Plus vaginal mesh, off the market a few weeks before. 

After that, the pelvic mesh lawsuits began to pile up. There have been over 100,000 lawsuits filed in West Virginia alone. In 2016, Coloplast agreed to pay $11.75 million to settle 2,000 mesh claims. 

Companies that have been the target of bladder mesh lawsuits also include:

  • Coloplast
  • Cook Medical
  • Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiary American Medical Systems 
  • Boston Scientific

Some of the companies above have doled out large pelvic mesh lawsuit settlements–often in the millions. But others have defended themselves in court and refused to admit wrongdoing. When that happens, reaching a verdict can take years. 

Take Johnson & Johnson for example. This company’s mesh products are the most popular. It’s also the company that has faced the most pelvic mesh lawsuits. But J&J has been notoriously slow to offer settlements. This is one of the reasons why the company often makes headlines as the defendant in heated court battles. 

Recent Pelvic Mesh Lawsuits

If you thought that $20 million sounded like a hefty pelvic mesh lawsuit settlement, here’s some news for you. Juries have awarded even more than that. In Susan McFarland’s case, it was an additional $100 million more. 

That’s right– a Philadelphia jury handed down a $120 million verdict. And McFarland deserved every penny for what she went through. 

In 2008, the Altoona, PA resident received a pelvic mesh implant. The mesh eroded into her vagina, causing terrible pain and urinary tract infections. She had surgery to remove the faulty product, but it didn’t help. She can’t have sexual intercourse without pain, and continues to suffer from the urinary incontinence that the mesh was supposed to correct.  

The jury’s April 2019 decision was a long time coming. A previous trial ended with a hung jury in September 2018. But this time, the jury found that Ethicon was negligent in its design of the pelvic mesh product. 

According to the Altoona Mirror, McFarland’s attorney said that McFarland had a “light bulb moment” when she saw commercials about women injured by pelvic mesh. She was “extremely brave”, especially when taking the stand to discuss intimate details about her life. 

Also in 2019, a jury awarded $41 million to Suzanne Emmett and her husband, Michael. Emmett suffered from bleeding, pain, and infections after receiving a mesh implant in 2007. She endured multiple revision surgeries. That same year, Patricia Mesigian received a $80 million pelvic mesh lawsuit settlement against Prolift. 

Should I File A Lawsuit?

If you have been injured by surgical mesh, contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you gather the evidence you need to seek a pelvic mesh lawsuit settlement. (Learn more about preparing for your first meeting with a lawyer, here.)

A settlement can help end your pain by getting you the compensation you need to undergo reversal surgeries. Countless women have used damages won from pelvic mesh lawsuits to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Do you have questions about the filing process? Are you wondering whether your case will stand up in court? We’re here to help. Click here to schedule an appointment.