Doctors Refute Ms. Perry's Mesh Injury Claims

//Doctors Refute Ms. Perry's Mesh Injury Claims

Doctors Refute Ms. Perry's Mesh Injury Claims

**Update*  At this writing, the Perry case has gone to the jury** MND will bring you the verdict when it becomes available.**

Medical doctors who treated or examined Ms. Coleen Perry, the plaintiff in Perry v. Ethicon, (1:13-cv-00729-AWI-JLT), took the stand to testify in the fifth week of her trial against Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson (J&J) subsidiary, in a Bakersfield, California courtroom.

cvnThanks 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.

Neither doctor supported Ms. Perry’s story that the TVT-Abbrevo pelvic mesh, implanted in 2011, caused her extreme pelvic pain, mesh erosion and dyspareunia.dr charles edward allen

Monday afternoon, Feb. 23, Ethicon attorney Burt Snell questioned Dr. Edward Charles Allen, an obstetrician/gynecologist from Bakersfield, California who continues to be Ms. Perry’s treating doctor. While Dr. Allen made it clear he is not an expert for either side,  his story favored the defense (Ethicon, Johnson & Johnson), for whom he is still a consultant and preceptor (teacher).  On more than one occasion, Dr. Allen said he is very good at his profession. He has implanted about 250-350 mesh slings to treat either incontinence or prolapse.

abbrevoIn March 2011, Ms. Perry, 50, received a TVT-Abbrevo (Ethicon/J&J) 12 cm polypropylene mesh sling, implanted by Bakersfield surgeon Dr. Luu. After a couple of years, Ms. Perry said she finally wanted to treat the incontinence which was disruptive to her active lifestyle. She claims since then, the implant has caused her pelvic pain and dyspareunia (painful sex), which has not subsided, despite the attempt by Dr. Allen to excise a portion of the Abbrevo sling in January 2012.

Under questioning by attorney Snell, Dr. Allen said Ms. Perry did not complain of pain with sex in her follow-up well woman exam in October 2012.  She did not discuss any problems with incontinence in 2012. On cross exam, the jury was reminded Ms. Perry was being treated by another doctor for hormonal issues with a non-drug natural approach and her husband previously testified that his wife is not a complainer.

Burt Snell, Ethicon attorney

Burt Snell, Ethicon attorney

Dr. Allen next saw her November 7, 2013 for another well woman exam. She had a slightly enlarged uterus then and did not tell her physician about ongoing pelvic pain, pain with sex, a burning feeling in her vagina or feelings like glass is inside, or any problems with incontinence.  There was no evidence of a mesh exposure in 2013, said Dr. Allen. The next visit was Nov 10, 2014 and again there were no reports of pain or urinary incontinence.  Dr. Allen said he believes his 2012 excision surgery was a success and he has felt no palpable mesh since that January 2012 revision surgery.

What then causes her dyspareunia?  Dr. Allen opined it was vaginal shortness linked to her dyspareunia.

Richard Freese, Freese & Goss

Richard Freese, Freese & Goss

On cross-examination, Perry attorney Richard Freese was pleasant but had no time for a conversational back and forth as had occurred with Mr. Snell.

He noted Dr. Allen did not tell the jury about his long relationship with Ethicon.  Dr. Allen denied one of his roles for the company was to say good things about Ethicon (J&J) or to even use their products.  He insisted he would use whatever medical device he thought worked best, not one that he was paid to promote.

Producing a May 6, 2011 signed a contract between Dr. Allen and Ethicon that would pay him $16,000 a year to be involved in educational summits and forums teaching other doctors about their products, Mr. Freese showed the jury an email about the contract specifics. In it, Dr. Allen insisted he own anything he discovered while working for Ethicon, not the other way around. Dr. Allen had an advantage at the time of this discussion. He was talking to Boston Scientific about being a preceptor or proctor for that mesh manufacturer. Under questioning by Mr. Freese, Dr. Allen didn’t remember having conversation with the two competitors at the same time.

Later, Dr. Allen said it is not unusual to have contracts with companies. It allows a doctor to monitor local doctors and to consult with other experts around the country. He didn’t make any money from the agreements, he said.


Ms. Perry in Hawaii, Facebook

Ms. Perry in Hawaii

Ms. Perry’s Revision Surgery

Earlier that day during morning testimony, Dr. Allen said he removed part of the Abbrevo from Ms. Perry in a January 17, 2012 surgery. He noted a tight vaginal band and excised a mesh-like material with fine blue plastic sutures that measured 1.3 by .09 by .3 cm.  He cut wider than the mesh, dissecting 2 to 3 cm on either side of the Abbrevo to cut past an infection to healthy tissue he felt was more likely to heal.  The rest of the Abbrevo, which measure 12 cm in length, remains in her body today.

In a follow-up visit, Dr. Allen said he felt the patient was healing normally. Since then, he’s seen no palpable mesh or mesh erosion, laying a foundation of doubt as to whether her complaints of pain could be real.

Medical Expert for Ethicon

Judge Lorna Brumfield, Kern Co. Superior Court

Judge Lorna Brumfield, Kern Co. Superior Court

A trial that was supposed to take three weeks after its January 26 start is now in its fifth week to accommodate the court schedule of Superior Court of California, Kern County Judge Lorna Brumfield.

Friday, February 20, court was not in session but on Thursday, the 19th Dr. Brian Flynn took the stand. The medical doctor was retained as an expert for Ethicon and had examined Ms. Perry in preparation for trial.

Under questioning by Ethicon attorney Snell, Dr. Flynn opined Ms. Perry had not only urge incontinence before her Abbrevo surgery but also pelvic pain.  Painful menses had necessitated an endometrial ablation surgery by a local Bakersfield doctor years earlier.

Dr. Flynn looked rather nonchalant and noncommittal giving his answers.

The University of Colorado urologist, hired as a medical expert in this case, specializes in reconstructive urology at the school of medicine. See the link here.

Dr. Brian Flynn, U of Colorado urologist

Dr. Brian Flynn, U of Colorado urologist

Dr. Flynn told jurors he was not there to state that Dr. Luu, the implanting physician, breached any standard of care or practiced malpractice.  He was asked which surgical practices played a role that led to her complications.  He answered her posterior colporrhaphy  and perineoplasty surgery.   

There was no evidence of mesh degradation. Based on his exam, Dr. Flynn said Ms. Perry’s prognosis is good.


On cross examination, Richard Freese questioned the credibility of Dr. Flynn. In preparing to testify at trial had he, Dr. Flynn, committed 70 hours of deposition preparation? Yes.  Had he seen any Ethicon documents or talked to any Ethicon employees? No.

Freese established Dr. Flynn’s had a consulting relationship with Ethicon from 2004 to 2011. He pulled out the 2005 contract. While Dr. Flynn denied he had any role in the marketing of Ethicon’s mesh medical devices, he did admit under further questioning he helped launch the TVT Exact. The rest of the time he was involved in professional education and “dinner programs,” another form of education.

Over the last eight year, Dr. Flynn has made $160,000 as a result of consulting work for Ethicon including work as an expert in the Carolyn Lewis case, Lewis v. Ethicon, and in this Perry v. Ethicon. 

The back and forth continued between Dr. Flynn and Mr. Freese with the attorney eliciting information about cadaver labs in which Dr. Flynn was a preceptor. You were telling doctors the Abbrevo and the TVT Secur were good and safe products weren’t you?  Dr. Flynn said he did 200 procedures and did feel Abbrevo was a safe product. The two go back and forth over whether or not he has used Abbrevo in the last two or three years.  (His deposition said he used it in 2013). Additionally, Dr. Flynn said he’s done about 50 mesh revision surgeries each year over the last three years, removing, or partially removing mesh used to treat both incontinence and prolapse.

Today Dr. Flynn still implants polypropylene mesh slings, but Mr. Freese elicited that he is taking one out for every one he puts in.  Dr. Flynn is presently converting to the use of biologic meshes and returning to treat prolapse with burch procedures. #



By | 2015-02-26T10:18:59+00:00 February 26th, 2015|News|30 Comments

About the Author:

I’m National News Editor, Jane Akre and I began Mesh Medical Device News Desk aka Mesh News Desk (MND) in the summer of 2011 just after the Food and Drug Administration issued an explicit warning to the public that complications associated with surgical mesh used for prolapse repair (POP) and incontinence (SUI) are NOT rare! That was the starting point for the litigation you see today and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women whose lives have been altered, some permanently, by the use of this petroleum-based product.


  1. Hal Lewis February 26, 2015 at 11:40 am - Reply

    What a heartless SOB! Her own doctor taking the stand to defend mesh and call her a liar. Hippocratic oath, my foot!

    This is why settlement is warranted. Who knows how many other treating doctors will be this bad? Having only seen bits and pieces of the testimony, I would be very surprised if the plaintiff prevails in this case.

    • msm February 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm - Reply

      There was a contract with Ethicon for $16,000. While he admits he had a contract that allows a doctor to monitor local doctors and to consult with other experts around the country, he didn’t make any money from the agreements.

      He just like a lot of implanting docs who deny mesh is the cause of anything to save their own butts. If he had to excise a portion of the mesh – a significant portion – through an invasive procedure most likely under general anesthesia, then the mesh caused a major problem. Surgery under general anesthesia is NOT to be taken lightly. It is serious and the recovery is painful. There are all sorts of complications that can arise and there is always additional scar tissue that can cause problems in voiding and during intercourse.

      That, in itself, it reason enough for a jury to find in her favor. If the mesh wasn’t defectively designed, the erosion requiring excision would not have occurred. Has the mesh caused her significant pain and subjected her body to further trauma? (not to mention brain cells that died as a result of anesthesia)

      Could there possibly be an unrelated cause for some of her pain? Who knows? It doesn’t matter. The mesh caused physical trauma resulting in pain. How can that be denied? Whether that pain lasts a month or 5 years should be irrelevant.

      • Disgusted February 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

        Here. Here. I noticed that too. They swore to tell the truth and only the truth – but who say’s what is really true? At this time if you feel it’s true than it’s true for you. This is hogwash – we need science based medicine and accurate studies that are independently conducted. The system is so overwhelmed by payoffs and buyouts that the real truth is buried and very hard to bring to the jury. Politics should not be leading health care.

      • jackson February 27, 2015 at 11:17 am - Reply

        I can say with 100% accuracy that he does not believe this. He told my wife and I to our faces that he no longer implants TOT because of the issues he has seen from implanting into the obturator internus.

        He is big on using the fascia. He helped my wife a lot. Kind of crazy to see him here testifying for the companies.

    • Jane Akre February 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      We will also see what the starts and stops in this case did to jury retention. There is something to be said for Judge Goodwin’s quick trials to resolve injustices!!!

      • Msm February 27, 2015 at 6:38 am - Reply

        I assume the jurors were returning to work during these long breaks. I hope they took good notes. I understand delays in beginning a trial, but why all of the delays during the trial?

    • kitty February 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      Don’t sue your Dr.

  2. stopmeshimplants February 26, 2015 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    So now I am even more curious. I had to have an ablation due

    to excessive bleeding and excessive pain a couple years

    after my implant.

    How many other women who were implanted with mesh required

    this same ablation procedure?

    Guess I have been reading Jane’s updates so often I

    have begun to expect this testimony from these

    physicians. So sad….

    I will continue to pray that justice will be served.

  3. Disgusted February 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    If the jury only knew the TRUTH! Our courts have turned into a “he said” “she said” fiasco. So called experts just tout opinions and nothing is based on FACT. We have learned from each other over the years that partial removals are substandard, if it’s going to be removed – remove the whole thing – as much as can be taken without killing the patient. No doubt she is getting worse with the partial removal. Just the fact’s; the FDA has warnings on transvaginal mesh, not brought to light in the courts. never tested beforehand, based on a product that was recalled, hundreds of thousands of women have been adversely impacted (not all are in lawsuits), the science is not in. To be a medical doctor and to “know” how your patient is feeling and not listening to your patient is a grievous error. Fixed training that has narrow guidelines does not allow for human imperfection. No two anatomy’s are the same, no two immune systems are exactly the same, etc. To use a one size fits all approach in such a wide range of needs is unethical. What happened to patient centered care? Obviously that is a thing of the past, it is now pharmaceutical centered care. Procedures have triumphed common sense.

    • Jan Urban February 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      Disgusted, Exactly, well said. Did it say that he is going with the Birch method, natural Bio-materials now?

      • Disgusted February 26, 2015 at 4:40 pm - Reply

        Yes. But did the jury pick up on it? Hopefully the plaintiffs will capitalize on the inconsistencies of the testimony.

  4. Debra February 26, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    If they are saying he is taking one out for every one he puts in surely this shows that Mesh is NOT good inside the human body unreal.

  5. precious mesh February 26, 2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Human testing. 50 percent failure rate. Enough said.

    • Jan Urban February 26, 2015 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      This trial has just added another face of evil, skirting the truth is all the faces of evil knows!

  6. Dawn February 26, 2015 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    I agree with Debra.. 1 in then 1 out , not very good odds there..

    How much is a VAGINA worth ??? In my eyes it is priceless

    • Disgusted February 26, 2015 at 4:43 pm - Reply

      We are all priceless. That is what is so grievous with all this devastation – it is demoralizing, degrading, and effects everyone in our circle. So much loss . . . so hard to comprehend. Hopefully we will see some big changes to law in the next few years.

      • Cynthia March 30, 2015 at 4:42 pm - Reply

        The pain, tears & embarrassment for us. Many have died or are near death yet they continue to lie. My day begins with pain & tears & ends the same way. Let’s not even begin to discuss what it’s done/doing to my marriage.

  7. Tammy February 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    There is 5 or so of us mesh women going to WV, March 2, anyone want to join us?

  8. Mesh Injured February 26, 2015 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    one thing I dread… if I ever get a trial, is allowing the defense to examine me. Is it just me? But it just seems like a violation by evil hearted monsters. I mean, my privates already may as well have revolving doors

    • Msm February 27, 2015 at 6:10 am - Reply

      If the eroded mesh has been removed, there’s nothing to see. The scar tissue goes deep into the tissues. If there’s granulation tissue indicating incomplete healing, underlying infection, and/ or foreign body reaction, that would be visible on exam.

      In my opinion, the objective is to see if they can elicit pain similar to that claimed by the patient. This is an exam of very limited scope that doesn’t take into account how the body moves or how the organs change position during movement of the body and bodily functions and certainly not during intercourse. So if a patient doesn’t experience severe pain while lying on her back with her feet in the air, then she’s not injured. Male physicians showing their ignorance.

      It seems that some see a women as nothing more than a receptical designed for their pleasure. It is overlooked that the plastic mesh is placed in and around the pelvic structures, tissues, and organs and subjected to constant shifting, compression, expansion, and friction. The tension on the mesh is constantly changing.

      We know from one of the patent applications that at least one manufacturer knew that tension on the mesh can cause the sides of the mesh to curl creating edges that can abrade surrounding tissue. Yet that was never included in the IFU’s. Regardless of the amount of tissue integration, the abrading and eroding is still likely and causing repeated injury to surrounding tissue. It is also known that tension can reduce pore size thus limiting tissue integration and increasing the chance of infection that cannot be eradicated without removal.

      So the exams will yield little if any evidence. The main objective of these exams imposed by the manufacturers is to humiliate, intimidate and discourage all women bringing suit.

      Just my opinion.

      • Disgusted February 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

        So true!

        The manufacturers of this torture device want doctors/patients to believe these followings things (and more). It continues to create new victims and allows continued torture of the injured.

        1. It’s not the product – it’s the skill of the doctor.

        2. Mesh is inert.

        3. If a problem occurs, just remove the offending part.

        4. Mesh does not cause pain.

        5. If you can’t see or feel it, it isn’t there – it’s a figment of your imagination or you’re just plain greedy.

        6. Your symptoms cannot be associated with mesh – it must be back, or other muscular injury. How many have had hip surgery or replacements because of this?

        7. It’s the “gold standard” of the industry.

        8. There are many reports that “substantiate” their opinions.

        9. Don’t confuse us with the truth.

        10. Doctors are so sure that they “know” how this all works; they don’t consider the patients input. After all the manufacturer’s are reputable and have the patients best interest at heart. They wouldn’t be in business if they repeatedly put out bad products!

        11. What does anatomy have to do with anything?

        12. There is a long history using polypropylene. It is safe.

        13. ETC.

        I am incredulous over the fact that this continues every day. How can this still be bought into? Even the defense witness (a doctor) said he is moving away from mesh. Why aren’t doctors looking into it? Why isn’t the FDA required to send a fax to every OB/GYN – UROLOGIST of warnings, so they can’t claim ignorance? Why isn’t the science totally in? – it’s been a decade! How can we continue to see these reports in favor of mesh after all the destruction and devastation we have seen? Why do women still fall for “it’s a new product, not the one in the commercials”? We have to become educated in these things as a society so we can make reasonable decisions. The whole structure needs to be scrapped, shut down and reinvented. It is based on people doing the right thing with a clear conscience. Greed has taken control and money goes a long way to soothe a bad conscious. Attack the victim, that’s all they have in their arsenal – don’t confuse the courts with just the truth and only the truth.

  9. Deanna February 27, 2015 at 2:55 am - Reply

    just tired of the wait game! Also can’t find a dr who understands my issues! All of them are afraid to step on each other toes! I just want relief! Every time I tried to get help it a shame I risk my life to to fix there mistake I have heart problems had 2 surgery already with heart issues every time don’t know if having more surgery is worth it losing my marriage my dignity but who cares they made there money , who cares about us poor people sad very sad just had to vent! Good luck everyone!

    • Jane Akre February 27, 2015 at 3:34 pm - Reply

      YOu need an expert- where do you live?

    • Cynthia March 30, 2015 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      AMEN! My sentiments exactly.

  10. Jeff Puckett February 27, 2015 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    C Perry is my sister. I have a biased view on this situation because I have know her since she was born. I can truly and unequivocally say that she is one of the most kind, honest and trustworthy people I know. Even if she was hurting and in pain, she would not reveal it. To understand all of the ramifications of what has happened to her because of this procedure/product makes me furious. Most of these issues I was unaware of because she is not a complainer. To hear how the attorneys for J&J/Ethicon spoke about her made me ill! So what if a person buys a car, what does that have to do with this case? I guess if you are in a car accident, you shouldn’t be able to file a lawsuit for malpractice for an unrelated issue? Most attorneys that I have had the displeasure of dealing with have proven themselves liars, spinning truth and facts into distorted possibilities in order to further an abomination of lies. The prerequisite for being a good attorney is the ability to lie and destroy a persons credibility with a straight face. Hopefully the jury will recognize the total BS of the defendants attorneys.

    • Jane Akre February 27, 2015 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      Hi Jeff- thanks for writing. I do think she has excellent lawyers with Mr. Cartmell and Freese. I’ve seen them in action and they are very thorough and likeable. I hope you agree. Looks like a Monday verdict?

  11. PLC February 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    This trial has me worried. For one, It has gone on far too long and even her own doctors are going against her.

    I still think it would have been a good idea to be charging the doctors as well

    • kitty February 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Did she sue her Dr?

  12. Ronald James February 28, 2015 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Are these drs testifying for j&j for fear they maybe sued if j& j lost these trials? Can they be coconspirators if that happens and they have contracts with these companies?

    • kitty February 28, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Didn’t she sue Dr. LUU?

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