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J&J Attacks Credibility of Plaintiff Expert Witness

Dr. Jerry Blaivas, urologist

Dr. Jerry Blaivas, urologist

FRIDAY’S TESTIMONY

On this fifth day of the Huskey v Ethicon case, it would be important for Johnson & Johnson to raise questions about the credibility and conclusions of Thursday’s expert witness for the plaintiff, world renowned urogynecologist Dr. Jerry Blavais.

Plaintiff, Jo Huskey had a TVT-O implanted in February of 2011 to treat urinary incontinence and had experienced chronic and devastating pelvic pain since shortly afterward.

Jones during Linda Gross trial, Feb. 2013

Jones during Linda Gross trial, Feb. 2013

In a rather contentious back and forth, J&J attorney, Christy Jones, continued with Dr. Blavais in an effort to impeach his testimony.

First, she used a series of documents to try and show fascia lata slings, which he uses, (human muscle) have fallen out of favor among the mainstream doctors, while polypropylene or synthetic slings are considered the “Gold Standard.”

“Ninty-five percent of members of the American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS) use mid-urethral slings don’t they?” she asked when showing the doctor documents.

“Yes,” he said.

She showed him a paper he wrote (here) where he said pubovaginal slings never achieved widespread popularity. Yes, he said. “That’s because surgeons don’t have the skills.”

A medical group, Urinary Incontinence Treatment Network, conducted a 24-month study comparing complications between the retropublic and transobturator mid-urethral sling. It showed mesh exposure of 1.3 percent with the original TVT and one mesh exposure with the transobturator, correct? Yes said Dr. Blaivas.

“Yes. But that’s not the transobturator in discussion today,” said Blaivas. “And it goes directly toward my concern that long-term complications need to be addressed.”

Jones during Linda Gross trial, Feb. 2013

Jones during Linda Gross trial, Feb. 2013

Jones continued:

You know many patients that have been treated with mid-urethral slings without complications?”

Dr. Jerry Blaivas

Dr. Jerry Blaivas

“I do.”

“And in fact the mid urethral sling surgical procedure is taught at the hospitals you have privileges is that correct? “That’s correct.”

“And you have not done anything to block the use of the mid urethral polypropylene slings at those hospital have you?”

“That’s not true. I have.”

“As a practical matter doctor (she regroups), they’re still being used aren’t they?”

“They are.”jury in huskey trial

Often Jones would prompt, “Are you with me doctor?” Yes.

The terms were fast and furious. One had to wonder if the nine jurors truly appreciated the difference between a mid urethral sling, transobturator procedure (TVT-O) and a retropublic procedure (TVT), autologous fascia pubovaginal sling (using your own tissue) or whether they just would have to rely on the body language displayed during this confusing line of questioning.

None of the jurors seemed to be taking notes. They were all paying attention but after an hour looked weary of the back and forth.

 

Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Motley Rice

Fidelma Fitzpatrick, Motley Rice

REDIRECT

Fidelma Fitzpatrick (Motley Rice) addressed Dr. Blaivas again on her redirect.

Did any of the articles Mrs. Jones talk about deal with laser cut mesh? Did any of them specifically deal with the TVT-O device?   Did any articles relate to type of complications Mrs. Huskey has?

“No, they were omitted from every one,” Dr. Blaivas answered and the majority did not deal with the transobturator approach, the type implanted in Mrs. Huskey.

“Do you have an opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty whether choices should be based on popularity?” she asked, referring to Jones’ characterization of synthetic slings as the popular choice among most physicians.

“Yes. Popularity has nothing to do with science and it should be based on benefits and risks of the operation,” said Dr. Blaivas.

“Did any of the the recent articles she showed you show more danger than you had previously thought?  “No.”

Talking about popularity, do you have an opinion over time there have been a lot of medical devices that were once popular that are no longer used? asked Fitzpatrick.

“I do think there are medical devices that are no longer used today that we find out cause major complications after time” said Blaivas.

Later Judge Goodwin would throw out as an example the use of leaches as a once popular medical procedure.

 

ALLEN HUSKEY

Ed Wallace, attorney for Jo Huskey

Ed Wallace, attorney for Jo Huskey

Jo Huskey’s husband, Allen wrapped up Friday morning for his wife, the plaintiff.

He has a claim for loss of companionship or consortium.

Attorney Ed Wallace (Wexler Wallace) stood at the podium and quietly questioned Mr. Huskey,  a nice looking man in his 50s with silver hair and a goatee. He has worked at the same Illinois compounding pharmacy for 20 years. Mr. Huskey looks nervous.

Jo’s stress urinary incontinence (SUI) was not even something Allen knew about until she had the TVT-O procedure in February 2011, he testified.

“We bike we walk, I had never flown in my life, she has me flying she got me doing things I’d never done before. She improved my life and we’ve lost a lot of that now.”

Intimacy has also been impacted. When they do attempt, Jo pays for it for days, he said.

What are the other things you can’t do today?

Huskey puts his hand over his mouth, he looks down and weeps despite his best effort to hold it back. Wallace is empathetic, the courtroom is silent. The jury appears stoic.

“We can move on,” said Wallace sympathetically.

What were Mr. Huskey’s expectations from the incontinence surgery? A 30 minute procedure, outpatient, no big deal, he answered, but the pain began months after the surgery and one revision led to another, and a series of steroid injections to try and quiet her pain.

“They were some big needles,” he added. Jo has stopped the injections and is managing with pain medications now.

What are you doing to cope today?

“Just hanging on each other.”

With the conclusion of the Allen Huskey testimony, the plaintiffs’ case rested. ##

 

 

19 Comments

  1. stopmeshimplants says:

    God Bless Mr. Huskey and his wife. No one should have to stand in front of a court of law and share these personal, private and intimate details. I pray they get justice in this court.

  2. Dawn says:

    I so feel his sorrow … I miss the intimacy I once shared with my husband for so many years 🙁 we will never be the same. I cry at what was stolen from us ..all for profit for these manufacturers and Dr.’s.

  3. Barbara says:

    MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE WORKED HARD IN A MARRIAGE OF 42 YEARS..Raised 4 boys. and put them through College.We are not people looking for hand outs!I Deeply resent J&J ignoring they made mistakes and efforts to blame Viictims.. I Have had a long career with Hospice and could never imagine blaming my patients for use of faulty products. Our plans for retirement and travel were halted because frequent UTIS, pain, in uterus (can feel “twisted wire inside me).The stress and loss of intimenciy is unimaginable.To add insult to injury is an understatement.This whole thing appears to be turning thiings around to make all of this the fault of the patient is beyond words I have 5 grandchildren and dreamed of jumping in car to Disneybut they are growing so fast and time is running out for that.I will never stop fighting for justice for myself or my familly,my co-injured community worldwide..animals are treated better than mesh injured women.what if YOURmother or daughter?

  4. Carol says:

    I hate these big companies with their 500 dollar an hour attorneys. they are guilty guilty guilty of hurting thousands of women and they are trying to get out of paying for their negligence. SAD SAD SAD.

  5. Robyn says:

    I’m happy to see that someone is getting their day in court! I filed my law suite in 2010 and my case still hasn’t been resolved. It’s been a year and a half since it was formally filed in court where I was given 30 days to provide updated documentation. Whey do I only get 30 days while AMS gets as long as they need to prepare to fight their case. My husband and I have experienced many of the same things the Husky’s have experienced. After 9 surgeries (and yes I need another one) I can finally run again after 7 years but I’m way too young to wear depends! And I have gained 20 pounds creating additional health risks. I don’t have a uterus but have to wear a pad every day of my life! I’m angry that the law is on the side of these companies! They physically altered the lives of so many women (and potentially ruined marriages!) why do we have to fight to be heard????

    • Becky says:

      I have the same problems I have no relations with my husband we sleep in different bedrooms I never get a kiss or hug or nothing more. I am so small there that I can’t stand to even try. I will probably be dead and go b e before they settle anything and won’t get anything. They knew not to use fishing lines to make the mesh it stated on the fishing not for human use.

  6. That so much info about mesh, relevant info, is blocked by the judge means the scale of justice is tipped, add the the revealing questioning of couples about the most intimate and private part of their lives, adds insult to injury ..to win a case in these circumstances says a lot ……. shame on the justice venue

    • Jane Akre says:

      Noni- If you count the things they CANNOT be admitting in court… the list is almost as long as what can be admitted… They do that to stick to the law, it is the product defective and was there enough warning to the docs… Are they defective in their warrantys etc. Otherwise the case would go on for six months…. very frustrating. But the court of public opinion is just as important in the end…That’s what we all are working on,,, slowly,,, slowly…

  7. jade says:

    Fitzpatrick is 0 for 2 – one more loss and she’s out (and she should be). Her bio specialty states “Fidelma Fitzpatrick litigates environmental contamination claims for various states, cities, counties and individuals.” Maybe Motley Rice should get an attorney on this case with a more relevant background, not in “litigation against national lead paint pigment manufacturers”. Fidelma should brush up ( no pun intended) on mesh, or get out! She’s no match for Christy Jones of J&J – one smart cookie who knows her mesh and knows how to present it to a jury simply and clearly stated. Our attorneys better “man-up” or victims are in BIG trouble!

    • Jane Akre says:

      Difficult call to make Jade unless you are sitting here…. there are many factors that go into a case, the judge is not the least of them. BTW- FF did not do the Boston Scientific case, it was Doug Monsour…

  8. Dean says:

    Totally agree with you Jade there’s not ENOUGH being said it seems to be to short cut in the Boston Scientic case it looked like that poor woman got torn apart.on Tuesday they are going to tell the jury why this mesh isn’t defective they shouldn’t have the chance to have another go at this as they have said there peace and the Jury has been away from the court room for three days I’m praying for not just for my wife but for all of those who have been seriously hurt by the mesh justice has GOT to be SERVED in this case as it is a HUGE HUGE case for others in the future

    • Jane Akre says:

      Motions in limine…. I’m not a lawyer but both sides fight in advance of a trial what can and CANNOT be entered in during the trial. It is fascinating. Of course Judge Goodwin wants to move these cases along so he has given them nine days.. in this trial, the defense should wrap up their case in 2 days only. We will see.

  9. jade says:

    Yes, Jane – Sorry, for mistake. FF did not try second MA case, but reading from the Huskey transcipt her questions seem convoluted and unclear when addressing even our witness. Can you image what the Jury must be feeling, if even I have to read FF’s questions twice or three times to determine what she just asked? Legal jargon is great for lawyers, but our team needs to turn it down a notch when trying to get their message across to a Jury. Slater did it well – strong visualizations, terms (1) “they blew through another red light” – remember that phrase. (2)”You don’t know what a party is, Doctor?” – another good one! It helps the Jury understand who these manufacturers and their paid doctors are -(1) ones who disregard the law and (2) those that ask for forgiveness, instead of permission! Again, I say we need to put forth a stronger presence with our lawyers and our cases, or the Defense will steamroller over all of us!

  10. Maria Garcia says:

    Christy Jones needs a plaintiff to shut her down with a response that is direct and to the point as possible. I have had many surgeries from Bi-lateral knee replacement with both knees completed at the same time. I had a back fusion of L4 & L5 and when I woke up I could immediately feel my legs which were numb for years. My right hand thumb joint was fused allowing me to actually use my hand again. My very first major surgery was my Bi-lateral TMJ replacement. Every one of the above mentioned surgeries were painful and there was a healing process with all of them. My Bi-lateral knee replacement was my new “10″ on the pain scale in the hospital but all of the above mentioned surgeries are behind me now. The one thing that all of them have in common is that they gave me my life back without any measurable amount of pain. The pro-lift one and two and TVT-O have stolen almost a decade of the best years of my life from my husband, our children and grandchildren. I have known nothing but pain since my Ethicon mesh surgery in 2007 and that is a horrible contrast to all the previous surgeries. Christy Jones, I’ve known pain and I’ve known suffering but when Ethicon entered my life all I have known is ongoing regret.

    I forgot to mention that I have had five ex-plants since my Ethicon Prolift I & II and TVT-O were installed in 2007 along with many exams, nerve tests and in office procedures. God has answered my prayers and brought me to Dr. Peter M Lotze which specializes in Urogynecology & Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Pelvic Health / Urinary Continence and Routine Gynecology. His address is 7900 Fannin, Suite 4000 Houston Texas 77054. The phone number is 713-512-7814 http://www.texaspelvichealth.com

    Dr. Lotze is a Christian man by example not just in words and has a compassionate heart that really listens to his patients. He works with one of six nerve specialists in the United States Dr. Charles A. Popeney, D.O., PA to assess the condition of the patient in order to create a plan of action. I was given a 3.5 part plan which I am on part 2 at this time. Dr. Lotze has plans to bring in a plastic surgeon if need be when we are closer to the last phase of the plan. I just had a pig skin graft installed as part of my reconstruction. I am recovering and I am in another major pain cycle of healing again.

  11. cybil says:

    SHOCK of my LIFE: I just discovered that my implanting doctor WHO is joined on my MDL as having been dooped along with me – was called as and Expert Witness for the DEFENSE! That means he knew EVERYthing, but did not disclose or inform me of complications or risks! My concern is this: How will this play out with my case? If he’s an Expert Witness for the Defense, he won’t be able to sit on my side claiming he was dooped. All I can see for him to say is that told me everything! Even though that would be a LIE , it could make me lose my case/settlement, correct? If he didn’t say he knew everything – he’d be perjuring himself on my trial. I’m SO confused and my lawyers are NOT answering or addressing this issue.

    • Jane Akre says:

      You make a very good point Cybil… obviously he is NOT an expert in your case but as an expert he did know and was likely paid to be a consultant or to train other docs. How he was ignorant indeed… Sounds like you would have a very good case with that fact entered. Are you going to trial?

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