Perry Hammered About Her Medical Past in Transvaginal Mesh Trial

Jane Akre
February 12, 2015
Mr. and Mrs. Perry zip lining in Hawaii, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Perry zip lining in Hawaii, 2012, Facebook

Thanks to Courtroom View Network for access to live streaming video of the Perry v. Ethicon trial. Mesh News Desk is prevented from showing any plaintiffs or evidence or from quoting directly from the case.

On Monday, February 9, the plaintiff in Perry v. Ethicon, (Case 1:13-cv-00729-AWI-JLT), took the stand again after a long weekend break. Ms. Coleen Perry, 50 wore a red sweater and neat red blouse with a wrap at the neck. Her blonde hair is neatly styled and she is calm and polite.

This is the third week of her defective product trial against Ethicon, being conducted in state court in Bakersfield, California.

The attorney for Ethicon, Kim Schmidt questioned her about her health, presenting a series of documents, questionnaires Ms. Perry filled out before going to an alternative/ complimentary medical doctor in Los Angeles, as well as other doctors. The questions were personal, private and for the most part, occurred before her pelvic mesh implant, an Abbrevo, in March 2011 to treat incontinence.

Abbrevo TVT-O, Ethicon website

Abbrevo TVT-O, Ethicon website

Abbrevo is a 12 cm transobturator mid-urethral polypropylene mesh sling made by Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

Schmid attempted to lay a foundation of doubt about the pre-mesh health condition of Ms. Perry.

Testifying on the stand, Ms. Perry said she had gone to various doctors complaining of insomnia, shortness of breath, asthma, anxiety, depression, heavy periods, dizziness sand fainting. In her 20's she had a series of urinary tract infections and suffered PMS or premenstrual syndrome. She was overweight and wanted help.

She and her husband suffered medical problems after a motor vehicle accident in Las Vegas. She has hired attorneys to deal with that car accident, established Schmid. The auto accident caused pain in her neck and she received a prescription for Vicodin and began seeing an orthopedic doctor for her spine issues. She also went to a physical therapist and stopped all physical activities after June 2013.

Ms. Perry politely answered the personal questions. When she wanted to elaborate, she was cut off.

Kim Schmid, Ethicon attorney

Kim Schmid, Ethicon attorney

Her incontinence became worse in 2009 and up until that time it was moderate. Her doctor, Dr. Luu, a pelvic floor surgeon, described the sling implant and how it could correct the condition of incontinence. The leaking of urine was disruptive to Ms. Perry's lifestyle, which was an active one involving time with her husband. During her consult about the mesh implant, Ms. Perry says she did not ask for any patient brochures. She did sign an informed consent that she understood the risks of mesh placement. She agreed all of her questions had been answered about the four surgeries she would undergo.

After the mesh implant, Ms. Perry said the incontinence had resolved. She attended seven follow-up medical appointments and went to a HGC diet to lose weight.

Schmidt did not hesitate to outline the number of doctors Ms. Perry had seen and the procedures she was receiving which included physical therapy, vitamin c infusions, an alternative/complimentary medical doctor. These were physicians attending to conditions outside of her pelvic issues, which Ms. Perry tried to emphasize when she was asked why she didn't complain to them about the ongoing pelvic pain and dyspareunia. To address her pelvic mesh, which had now eroded, Ms. Perry saw another doctor to conduct an excision.

Many women have no idea mesh may be related to their pelvic pain until they see television commercials about mesh injuries. Ms. Schmidt asked Ms. Perry if she had seen transvaginal mesh commercials before she decided to hire an attorney. Yes she had. Before she hired them, did she think there was anything wrong with the TVT Abbrevo? Prior to seeing the commercial, the surgeries and erosion led her to believe something was wrong with the mesh, Ms. Perry corrected the attorney.

While the Abbrevo corrected her incontinence, pelvic pain never went away. Then the mesh eroded into her vagina. She had an excision and colporrhaphy scheduled. Six months after that surgery, she and her newly retired husband went on a three week trip to Hawaii.The defense showed her pictures posted on her Facebook of zip lining and playing golf.

Ms. Perry in Hawaii

Ms. Perry in Hawaii

Life After Mesh- Everything Resolved?

Sometime after her mesh surgeries and explant, Ms. Perry wanted to get healthier without prescription medications. She underwent an IV vitamin C drip as well as blood irradiation prescribed by Dr. Mather, her alternative/complimentary medical doctor. The doctor also recommended bioidentical hormones, supplements and vitamins every day.

The couple purchased an RV to take a trip to Arizona, and the California coast.

In an exhibit, defense showed a letter Ms. Perry wrote in February 2014 to Dr. Mather. She was walking up to 5 miles a day, about 25 miles a week, calculated Schmidt. Ms. Perry wrote she felt great, was sleeping through the night and that life was good!! She did not mention her pelvic pain to Dr. Mather who was addressing overall health, not her pelvic injuries.


On re-direct, an attorney for Ms. Perry established she had no health problems related to mesh, before the mesh implant. Any complications, Dr. Luu had indicated could be dealt with, fixed or repaired, perhaps explaining why she did not ask further.

Did she experience mesh erosion prior to a mesh implant? No. Was erosion associated with allergies? No, she said. He established there were no injuries to her pelvic region during the car accident in Las Vegas.

Patrick Perry

Bringing some context to the story was Patrick Perry, called to the stand Monday afternoon. The California native worked as a firefighter in Los Angeles until 2012. He spent time in the Marines. He and his wife loved outdoor life - golf, fishing, four-wheeling.

Mr. Perry said his training as a firefighter sharpened his skills as an observer, someone who sizes things up in advance of acting. How is his wife today? She is deteriorating, he said. Definitely not a complainer, he has to pry to find out what is wrong. From the mesh until now, especially since his retirement, he said he's watched her go through decline because of pain. When she cries, it gets him worked up he said. Sometimes it become overwhelming for her.

Referring to herself as damaged goods, Mr. Perry told the jury she believes this is her fault. If she hadn't gotten this procedure, they'd be okay during this, the retirement years they had planned for. She refers to it as the death of their sex life, he said. It’s horrible to watch her go through the pain and it kills me and Mr. Perry said he doesn't know what to do for her. Calling them a great couple, he said we are traumatized, not just her, but both of us.

The defense had no questions. #

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