Mesh Medical Device News Desk, September 14, 2018 ~ Mesh News Desk wanted to visit with Ella Ebaugh as the seventh transvaginal mesh trial to be held in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is about to wind down.
It was 8 months ago that Ms. Ebaugh sat in the very same court as Susan McFarland, who is in the middle of her product liability case against Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon).
Both women were implanted with the company’s pelvic mesh - McFarland with a TVT-O and Ebaugh with a TVT (tension-free vaginal tape) and a TVT-S (Secur). Both meshes are part of the Ethicon ( Johnson & Johnson) family of transvaginal polypropylene meshes.
There is another similarity - Ebaugh's implanting doctor was trained by the same person who trained McFarland's - Dr. Vincent Lucente, the preceptor/ consultant for Ethicon who has made millions training and encouraging doctors to use the company's products.
While MND is not inside the courtroom and has covered it from the exhibits being shown and the expert reports, Ebaugh tells readers what it is like to be in her place and what McFarland may be feeling.
Ella Ebaugh ~ "Here you are in trial and it’s a small courtroom. You see your lawyer and two other people on your team. In comes the defense team with ten lawyers and ten on their side and they just walk around. I think they are trying to intimidate you.
Ella and Marvin
“So we are sitting there and my husband was with me the whole time, Thank God. The jurors come in and you sit there and for a month are looking at these people the whole time. They don’t look at you. They’re straight faced. You don’t know what they’re thinking."
Kila Baldwin, Kline Specter
“Kila went first with the opening statements. She gave her opening and I felt amazed. She said everything perfectly. That was so good and convincing.
“Then the defense tries to tear you down."
“Kat Gallagher, I listened to her version. She and Curt, whoever it was, they go and say negative things. She had depression, a couple of things they weren’t allowed to say. They were saying my father was abusive. That you were depressed before the mesh. They go through that I had infections at the age of 12 or 16 when I had my first UTI. So they go way back. They were trying to say I had UTIs on a regular basis and the mesh isn’t causing my UTIs now. They go through your history."
“They try to spin it that you are the bad guy.”
“The defense will say all kinds of things. I was so emotionally distraught to listen to them lie and tear me apart, it was so hurtful. These are big wigs they (jurors) are going to believe what they say and not the victim, I thought."
“When they got done I was like, “Oh my gosh,” I was just, there’s no way I’m gonna have a chance. I talked to my attorney and she said ‘Ella its okay.’ I went to the hotel and prayed on it and that moment I felt fine, I felt at ease and I knew everything would be okay."
“I told them I was glad to have my voice heard. It was so much weight lifted off my back. My attorneys were able to produce
information they (Ethicon) lied and manipulated the data, they had emails. It was such a relief."
“When the jury came back, I sobbed, I broke out. I was sobbing like a baby. It was just that emotional and physical and I was glad it was over. The jurors then looked straight at us. When I turned to look at them they nodded their head and smiled. At the end we were able to talk to them. I gave every single one of them a hug and thanked them. They said we deserved it."
Ella and her kids
Postscript* - Ella reminds us, “Even if poor Susan wins her case, we are still being victimized because of the appeals process. They are still allowed to get away with it for 4 or 5 ore years. Adding insult to injury. It’s being victimized all over again and I feel story for all mesh sisters. I have no idea how I got so lucky to go to trial. My attorney pushed hard for my case to go through.”
The Susan McFarland v. Ethicon defective product trial may wrap up the week of the 17th. It will be the seventh transvaginal mesh trial to be held in the Philadelphia Court of Common Please. All but one of them has delivered a jury verdict for the plaintiff including millions of dollars in punitive damages against Ethicon.