Doctor: Plaintiff Lawyers in 'Attack Mode' Over Mesh Complications

Jane Akre
September 25, 2012

Sept 25, 2012 ~ A recent news release from an ObGyn in Minneapolis shows that at least he is on the offensive when it comes to mesh injuries.

The doctor doesn’t let the facts get in the way.

For some reason the doctor, an Ob/Gyn at Oakdale Obstetrics & Gynecology in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area tells patients (here) that “plaintiff lawyers are in “attack mode” and have demonized the MESH rather than the PROCEDURES that were ineffective.”

In other words – blame the bad lawyers and bad doctors, not the mesh.

That is not the only information that is demonstrably untrue. He says “most of these surgical products have also been removed from the market,” referring to mesh that erodes through the vagina.

That simply is not true. Most synthetic surgical mesh remains on the market.

On point one:

It was in 2008 and again in 2011 that the federal watchdog agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Public Health Safety Notification (here) that said mesh complications are “not rare” and may include “pain, infection, bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, organ perforation, and urinary problems.” There were also reports of “recurrent prolapse, neuro-muscular problems, vaginal scarring/shrinkage, and emotional problems.”

Many of these problems required additional surgeries, more mental and physical anguish and hospitalization as well as expense often added to a woman who can no longer work.

It doesn’t sound like a problem caused by a lawyer.

On point two:

Most synthetic polypropylene mesh remains on the market with the exception of four meshes that Ethicon is gradually discontinuing (background story here) and the Bard Avaulta that the company decided in July to stop selling in the U.S.

Why then does the doctor say, “the vast majority of this information (mesh controversy) comes from lawyer offices trying to secure business. Second, the mesh is not the problem, only certain surgeries using the mesh.”

In reality there were nearly 4,000 mesh-related injuries the FDA found in a three-year period from January 2008 to December 31, 2010. And many of those mesh injuries were associated with “mid-urethral slings” used to treat incontinence which he says “are not criticized or questioned by the FDA.”

In fact the FDA's July notification says, "The FDA continues to evaluate the effects of using surgical mesh to repair SUI and will communicate these findings at a later date."

More and more women who go online and read about their complications tell MDND they are deciding to opt out of having a plastic mesh permanently implanted and go for a pessary or suture surgery alone.

Litigation over synthetic mesh used for the transvaginal treatment of prolapse and incontinence is growing. There are five cases consolidated in multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of West Virginia and a sixth MDL in the Middle District of Georgia.

Plaintiffs are filing defective product litigation in both state and federal courts with the first cases to be heard sometime in 2013.

On July 20, jurors in a Bakersfield, California state court determined that the Avaulta Plus Biosynthetic Support System vaginal implant caused Christine Scott’s chronic pain, mesh erosion, and incontinence and that she and her husband deserve the $5.5 million damage award after the Bard mesh eroded into her vagina, perforated her colon, leading to eight surgeries so far and ongoing, severe pain.

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