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J&J Named in Another Hernia Mesh Lawsuit

Prolene mesh

Prolene mesh

Plaintiff  Richard McLaughlin filed his lawsuit in California’s Central District last February. Although his mesh, made by Johnson & Johnson, was used for hernia repair, the allegations are the same as mesh used for pelvic organ prolapse – that the mesh is defective, that the instructions were missing or misleading, that the company is liable for his injuries and inability to work.

Hernia mesh is made from polypropylene (PP), a petroleum-based plastic. It has been used for decades and was generally regarded as safe, but some individuals have had ongoing complications since their implant.

Since prolapse in a woman’s pelvic floor was also considered a  form of hernia, the same PP mesh was later adapted for use as transvaginal mesh (TVM).

In this case, Richard McLaughlin was implanted with PP hernia mesh December 30, 2011 at the Los Alamitos Medical Center in Los Alamitos, California by Denise Joseph-Brown, M.D., who is also named in the lawsuit. Here is the lawsuit.

Hernia mesh amended complaint filed 3-13-14, Doc#8,  McLaughlin v J&J. 

His lawsuit says he has suffered severe bodily and mental injury, is in pain and has lost his income.  His wife, Eve, has lost her husband and is also a named Plaintiff in the action.  Toby Ellis of Agnew Brusavich (here) is the attorney for the Mclaughlin’s.

“The scientific evidence shows that the polypropylene material from which the Product is made is biologically incompatible with human tissue and promotes a negative immune response in a large subset of the population implanted with the Products, including Plaintiff.”

The product can become infected via bacterial contamination and cause chronic inflammation. Biomechanical issues that result include shrinkage, contracting, creeping, and deforming of the mesh.

The defendant should have known that yet continued to promote the product as safe and effective, even as no long-term trials had been conducted to assure safety and efficacy.

This is a defective product action and alleges negligence in its design, manufacturing, packaging and selling of the hernia mesh, defective warranty, a breach of warranty, as well as loss of consortium for the wife. The actions seeks punitive damages and also include a medical negligence claim against the doctor.

The case was remanded back to state court on Friday, April 11.

This is the latest in a number of hernia mesh claims now being filed. See Mesh News Desk on the last lawsuit filed against Atrium Medical for its ProLoop hernia mesh here.

26 Comments

  1. Richard M Howden(AMU) says:

    Let none of us forget that it is the MATERIAL that does the damage. The ‘design’ is the delivery system for the material. Whether a TVT or a Hernia mesh, both are made of the same materials, Polypropylene or Polyethylene. This is what does all the twisting, balling up, breaking apart and migrating. Other materials such as Polyester(Dacron) have the propensity to hold and later deliver infectious biologics into the body. I am relieved to see cases going against the manufacturers but when the blame is put on the design we are totally missing the target. We must insist and emphasize that it is the material that is to blame and not the design which just put’s the ‘product’ in place. What is defective is that the manufacturers, who have to know, continue to use this garbage plastic for their designs,completetly ignoring patient complaints and oil industry warnings.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Richard- common sense dictates that you are right on target. Why otherwise would we see the same complaints between men and women, hernia or pelvic mesh? Why does the mesh look the same after it is explanted in some individuals with cracking , erosion, degradation, fraying, rolling with many of the complaints from patients the same. You have spent far more time with this but we seem to have the mechanical characteristics of the mesh as it degrades and integrates with the body. But there appears to be a systemic reaction which could only be linked to the chemical properties of polypropylene and what it is treated with in its processing. Still undetermined is if all mesh is processed the same, has the same components, the same processing/ sterilization and whether there are higher reactors among patients. Perhaps these questions would be best addressed in scientific trials before it is marketed to the public?

      • Richard M Howden(AMU) says:

        You have brought up a great reason that the 501(K) process is flawed, Jane. With all of the complaints about every mesh on the market, all of which are very similar and the main component being the material, why does the FDA continue to allow this crap on the market. It is the MONEY. Simple. The FDA is paid off by the manufacturers. There cannot be any other reason for them to keep ignoring the facts, the complaints, the carnage and finally, the victims. Why should they care? It does not involve their family. They are not suffering, being lied to by their Dr. or losing all that they have worked for. They obfuscate the facts so as to continue the Status Quo. No dogs have been poisoned. No baby has had it’s fingers smashed in a bassinet. All the bad drywall has been found and gotten rid of. The FDA will knock down doors and prosecute to the full limit of the law when it comes to any of those crises. And now they ‘double down’ by bringing a ‘new improved’ mesh with it’s own sutures on the market because ‘hey!’ we need a quicker way to install mesh! And Thanks to the FDA’s diligence with the 501(K) process more new victims will be able to have their complaints ignored, too. When will our representatives in Washington help us? When will the ‘common sense’ that I try to apply to all of this finally make it’s way to our Senators and Congressman? Or was their last vacation paid for by J&J, Bard or Boston Medical? Just asking. I am tired of being in pain everyday and being ignored by the same people that are supposed to be protecting and helping me. The FDA is corrupt and are as much to blame as the manufacturers that they protect..

    • Clay says:

      Yep Johnson&Johnson Could Care Less It’s All About The Profits!!! Deaths And Serious Injuries Are Just Collateral Damage!!!

  2. Brenda Owen says:

    I received a hernia repair with J&J Ethicon Physiomesh that failed in 2011. It failed less than six months after the surgery. It bunched up and adhered to my bowel. The pain was debilitating. I had extensive surgery in 2012 to remove the mesh and to repair the damage….at least what could be repaired. I am still carrying a piece of that garbage in my body that they could not remove. I now have a 27 inch horizontal scar across my lower abdomen and my body will never be the same…nor fully functional. I reported it myself to the FDA as a failed medical device. I have yet to find an attorney that will take a hernia mesh case involving J&J. I live in Florida. This garbage needs to be taken off the market and J&J and the FDA need to be held responsible for any further use/failure of it.

    • Michael Lloyd-Billington says:

      So sorry to hear, Brenda. I, too, am dealing with complications from a hernia repair with J&J mesh — over a year of constant, chronic pain & inability to work, even though 8 months ago, I like you had the mesh removed. Also so far unable to find any representation — will let you know if that changes, and hope you might do the same. Hang in there & let’s keep praying that somehow our bodies might heal over time….

    • I had the same thing in Oct 2010, that is when they “So called” fixed 4 small 1cm where the aorta bi-pass broke open… mine didn’t even last I had it removed Nov 5 th. When I opened my eyes I had a football sized hole in my gut, from my ribs almost to the c-section I had in 1991 with my 2nd and last child. I took pictures of my wound when they ripped the sponge out, that is exactly what it felt like too, smelled like a dead animal on side of the road. I contacted a lawyer right away, before I asked a plastic surgeon to look at it. I need lawyer to sue J&J for the constant pain that I still face even after 4 years… I have pain management doctor for my back that a surgeon screwed up, literately, I needed the aorta replacement and not the back surgery that I suffered through 2 of them. It stated in my chart “abnormal aorta for a patient of this age”, and asking my family doctor and back surgeon, which both told me I was to young for this. I have nerve blocks that help my back but only that “my back”, from my ribs to my what was my belly button… I need to see a lawyer….

      • Denise says:

        wanted to clear things up that I stated wrong…. was a 2.5cm Incisional hernia over a aortobifemoral bypass… and dr stated on op report even though there was no proof, dr reported that I had umbilical hernia…. so what was supposed to be a small surgery ended up to be a 15×20” oval mesh that was removed before 2 weeks…. just wanted to clear up…

  3. Darren Cox says:

    Sorry to hear that Denise! My wife is currently recovering (with home health) from ventral hernia synthetic mesh removal which happened 2 weeks ago. Open abdominal wound which requires a wound vac for, they say, a few more months. Her first surgery was June 1st of this year. A week after and then 2 weeks after, she told the surgeon “Something is not right”. He ignored her and he and his staff treated her like a pill seeker. She has since had 2 surgeries to repair the first one. Pathology reports from the hospital state that the mesh was infected. The surgeon has yet to utter those words, “infected mesh”. From all that I am reading on this site, it seems that the pain and suffering my wife is going through is not going to end soon. I am also reading that not many lawyers are willing to take these cases, which is depressing in itself. Hopefully we can find an attorney to take this case. Much luck to you and all the others suffering from these atrocities.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Hi Darren… Please contact our good friend Bruce Rosenberg of The Meshoma Foundation. He is hernia mesh injured and knows a lot about injuries, treatment, doctors and lawyers. His is a nonprofit. 954-701-5094. Keep trying.. he is worth it!

    • Denise S says:

      So sorry to hear about your wife Darren… if you are still looking for help there are many facebook sites, public and private, to talk to others that have these same problems…. .. we learn a lot from each other…. 😉

  4. DEe Freeman says:

    I Thank everyone of you brave individuals for NOT keeping silent despite contending with the unrelenting ill effects of whatever type of mesh implant it is. Via Mesh News Desk, I contacted Bruce Rosenberg (2013) of The Meshoma Foundation. Prior to Bruce no one of the medical community explained, consoled or halfway listened to me regarding my 2008 post-mesh implant complications, which I am still contending with but now armored up with tough skin and resources that keeps me from pinching the fecal matter out doctors. Bruce gave me a wealth of information, with patience he will do the same for you.

  5. K. Shantz says:

    I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to find a doctor who will diagnose and a lawyer who will take a hernia mesh case. I’m trying desperately to find a doctor who can determine whether or not my brother’s severe physical ailments are being caused by his hernia mesh patches (no doctor can figure out why he can’t bend at all, can’t sit, and can only walk/stand for short periods and (of course) the surgeon who implanted the mesh patches says it’s not that and thinks my brother is crazy).

    Why is it so difficult to find a lawyer/law firm who will take a hernia mesh patch case? I don’t get it. HELP!

    • Jane Akre says:

      I don’t get it either…. There is certainly no shortage of cases…. Bruce Rosenberg is the best resource. He is hernia mesh injured himself 954-701-5094 and he knows docs and lawyers. The law firm that DOES take on these cases will be ahead of the curve in my opinion.

  6. Bethanie JO says:

    I had a ventral incisional hernia repair in Dec. 2012. The. The hernia was so large that the surgeon said there was nothing to attach the mesh used to on the bottom so she tacked it to the pubic bone. That failed within 6 months. I dealt with it for about a year but it continued to become larger and was again repaired in August 2014. 2 weeks after the surgery I became septic with infection, I had the JP drains from 8/28/2014 until the second week of December 2014. I had what they called “absessagrams” ( which was a CT scan) every week during that time. within 10 days of the drains coming out I had a small hole open in the incision. that turned into a larger wound that had to be reopened the last week of December. They found I had a 11 cm tunnel to a pocket of infection. We packed the wound for weeks. I had a wound vac from mid Feb. 2015 until the end of March 2015. The wound was still not closed, we continued to pack with several different dressings. I was finally sent to a infectious disease Dr. who told me right away that the mesh had to come out. A week later ( Nov. 16, 2015) I had the mesh removed. The wound was 20.5 cm and left open with a wound vac. Over the last 18 months I have had Zyvox 4 times for 30 days each time, Bactrim DS for at least 6 or 7 months. Vancomycin in the hospital twice, the last surgery I was in the hospital for 9 days. I had a bleeding episode with one of the vac dressing changes and had to have blood transfused. It is March 3rd 2016 and the Dr. has discontinued the wound vac again. The wound is still 12 cm (horizontal) and I have a 4.2 cm tunnel again. I did have another tunnel on the other side that closed suddenly, I think to quickly and now I am having a lot of pain in that side, the right all the way up to my ribs. The incision is very low, almost like a cesarean section. I fear there is a pocket of infection again causing the pain. The mesh that was used in August 2014 was Zenapro hybrid mesh. From what I can find out it was just released by t he FDA to be used shortly before my surgery and one of the studies was not over until Feb. of 2016. I don’t know what to do or where to turn. The surgeon seems to not be able to figure out why the wound wont heal. The infectious disease Dr. said the problems was from the mesh but the mesh is gone now. I was so in hopes when it come out I would heal. I had a good job as a hospice nurse when this all started but my FMLA ran out and I ended up losing that job. I had a part time job that was working with me on hours I could work some in 2015 but I have not been able to work since the last surgery.
    I have tried to call Bruce as ha been suggested but I have not been able to reach him. his voice mail is always full. I would love to talk to him or anyone that could suggest anything for me to do. I do feel that we all should be able to have some compensation for all the pain, loss of income and jobs, and the emotional turmoil this has caused. I don’t understand why the transvaginal and bladder mesh is so much easier to find a lawyer to help you with. Our Hernia problems are just as devastating.

  7. Mark says:

    Double lower abdominal hernia @ Jan 2013. Was off work on disability for about a year kept returning to dr due to sharp pains, he just kept saying probably mesh. Then got blood clot & high blood pressure along with loss of ability to ejaculate. Symptoms continue. Please let me know thanks. 909-702-3605 Call Linda

  8. Melissa says:

    I had an umbilical hernia and ventral hernia repaired in 2006 with prolene mesh. In 2013 I had a partial hysterectomy and afterwards developed an infection that kept me in the hospital almost a month. Could that infection be caused from the mesh? Also had the hernia repaired again in 2014, with being told a few weeks ago it has to be fixed again. Not sure what to do next.

  9. Carl Blish says:

    These are terrible to read some times.I feel sorry for each and every one who has suffered because of these faulty products.
    I had a double hernia repaired in 2015 with the J&J mesh.So far I am not having any MAJOR health issues because of the failure of one of the repairs.However it DOES concern me that sooner or later I must have the repair done so I might get back to what used to be my normal healthy VERY ACTIVE working life.Some of these writings do scare me as I now expect the same GARBAGE to be used in the repair when it is forced upon me to have it fixed.Where do we possible turn to have any faith in future repairs?????
    NO surgeries can be performed until I finish the current Chemotherapy process.So I sit and I wait and I hope something new will be on the market when the time comes.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Carl- Let’s hope you do not have problems. Not everyone does, please do not forecast that you will. It’s not good psychologically. I’m sorry.

  10. Tarry Smith says:

    I had multiple hernia surgeries with the last two being patches. The first patch failed after a few years. So the Doctor used a HUGH patch the last time. This was around 9 years ago. The Doctor bragged about the 200 pins he used to put the mesh on. I have had pain every day since. Some days it is worse then others. This last week I have noticed a lump at the top of my mesh circle close to my diaphragm. It hurts so bad when I sit I have to rub it for awhile to calm it down. I am thinking about having it checked. Let me just tell anyone considering this type of repair. RUN! DO NOT DO IT! I have felt like an alien is in my stomach every day for 10 years. I have had pain every day for 10 years. I would have NEVER had this done if I knew it would cause these side effects. I am fearful of my next visit to have this lump looked at .

  11. Rob says:

    A Bio A absorbable plug was placed in the defect and sutured in place with two ETHIBOND sutures. Then an overlay of PROLENE MESH was placed on top. This was sutured in place with interrupted ETHIBOND sutures and the new deep inguinal ring formed with the flaps of the PROLENE MESH. Time On: OCT 19, 2009 14:40
    Prosthesis is installed: Item: GEN . SURG . BIOABSORB PLUG / Implant Sterility Checked (Y/N) : Yes Sterility expiration date: JUN 2012 / RN Verifier: PARKER, JOAN L / Vendor: GORE / Model : HERNIA PLUG BIO-A / Lot/Serial Number : 06856408 / SIZE: 12. x 45MM / ITEM: GEN . SURG. OTHERS / Implant Sterility Checked (Y/N) : YES / Sterility Expiration Date : FEB 2012 / RN Verifier : PARKER , JOAN L / Vendor : GORE / Model: HERNIA MESH / Lot/Serial Number: 06785367 / Size: 6 . 5 CM X 13 CM::::: In may of 2017 I was rushed to the hospital emergency, I was experiencing Abdominal Pain and there was blood in my urine. They did a CAT Scan I believe and rushed me into Surgery. My lower intestines were Gangrene and my appendix burst. The doctor had to remove my appendix and had to leave a large open incision in case the antibiotics and drain tubes failed they could go back in and remove part of my stomach that was gangrene. Thank god they did not have to go back in. All of these complications were do to the PROLENE MESH wrapped around my lower intestines. Dr Arthur Fox was the surgeon his practice is in Gardena Ca at 1141 west Redondo Beach Blvd suit 202 Gardena CA 90247

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