Surgical Mesh Complications Continue to Emerge

Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Transvaginal mesh is used worldwide in the treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) and Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP), two conditions not uncommon to middle-aged women who have borne children. The physical stresses of pregnancy tax muscles and other natural abdominal tissues meant to hold internal organs in place. These mesh devices were designed to provide structural support for sagging pelvic organs and muscles.

The creation of a sling to treat SUI and POP with a woman’s own tissue by way of traditional invasive surgery, paved the way for the use of surgical mesh placed laparoscopically. This is a non-surgical procedure that lessens recovery time and is similar to abdominal hernia repair which is placed in much the same manner.

Death of a Surgical Mesh Recipient

Transvaginal mesh (TVM) side effects have been getting a lot of publicity in Australia lately due to complications that are similar to those associated with abdominal surgical mesh. A recent report in the Sunday Star-Times of Auckland brought to light the story of an Australian grandmother who died in 2014 following surgery, to remove abdominal mesh that was initially meant for a hernia repair.

Following her implant surgery, the woman was soon doubled-over in pain and had lost feeling in both legs. She was prescribed opioid pain medication, which did not improve her circumstance. A follow-up internal scan showed a large sheath of the abdominal mesh was sharply jabbing into her internal organs. Sufferers of TVM side effects relate similar complaints, because the edges of the mesh become intertwined with internal tissues and organs, or push up against the vaginal wall resulting in pain and the potential for infection.

The woman survived the surgery, but was found the following morning, unresponsive. She had died of cardiac arrest and polypharmacy (the simultaneous use of multiple drugs by a single patient for one or more conditions). The family of the deceased are convinced the surgical mesh triggered their mother’s death and are calling for an inquiry.

National law firm Parker Waichman has extensive and successful experience in medical device litigation, including transvaginal mesh devices. Attorneys at the firm are available to answer questions for individuals seeking legal information for potential lawsuits.

Calls for a Senate Inquiry

Don Wilson, a urogynecologist and professor emeritus remarked in the Star-Times report that he petitioned for a registry of mesh implants in 2014, along with the requirements for all surgeons using abdominal and TVM mesh products to be trained and certified. “I wrote my submission asking for a register three years ago,” Wilson told the newspaper. “It’s frustrating that there’s not been more action taken.”

Meanwhile, in Australia there are calls for a Senate Inquiry on transvaginal mesh side effects. A woman who serves as an administrator for the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group on Facebook with five other women, notes that there were 39 members when she joined the group in 2015. Since then, membership has grown to 850.

The administrator had a personal reason to involve herself with a Senate Inquiry into transvaginal mesh complications. In 2012, she had received treatment for POP with a TVM sling, only to have it removed three years later. However, the complications connected with the removal of her TVM mesh were so severe, that there was no hospital in Australia sufficiently equipped to handle the procedure.

The single mother of a ten-year-old child had few options but to sell her home in order to finance a trip to the United States where she had a six-hour operation to have the painful transvaginal mesh removed. In the U.S. there are many examples of women facing a similar challenge with many filing a transvaginal mesh lawsuit in pursuit of compensation.

In 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listed the most common transvaginal mesh complications as: mesh erosion, infection, pain, urinary problems, recurrence of prolapse, and incontinence. Pelvic mesh was also linked to reports of bowel, bladder, and blood vessel perforation.

Compensation in TVM Lawsuits

Recently, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had to pay a 56-year-old Pennsylvania woman $20 million after a verdict was reached in her favor.  The plaintiff had suffered multiple complications after being implanted with a vaginal mesh device.

This is the third consecutive eight-figure award against J&J in a mesh lawsuit in the Philadelphia courts. The previous two trial’s verdicts totaled about $26 million. A New Jersey woman in 2016 who sued over pelvic mesh injuries, was awarded $13.5 million. In 2015, an Indiana woman was awarded a verdict of $12.5 million.

The Philadelphia jury delivered a strong message with the recent verdict to Johnson & Johnson and other medical device manufacturers that putting profits before safety is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

Legal Advice and Information Concerning Medical Devices

If you or someone you know has been injured by a transvaginal mesh device, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact the personal injury lawyers at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).