Hello March ~ A Year of Settlements and Immunity
Hello March ~
At this writing, we have just heard the result of two pelvic mesh defective product trials – The Coleen Perry case resulted in a defective product conclusion by the jurors, defective instructions to the end user (doctor), $5 million in punitive damages and $700,000 in compensatory. The jury took nearly four days to come to that conclusion. Then just yesterday, a settlement was offered by Ethicon in the Dianne Bellew case, the specifics of which are not disclosed.
Both of these actions name Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson. Settling a case not only avoids a “defective” designation but it also allows the company to skirt any liability. Settling the higher cost cases (presuming a settlement is in the seven-figure range) also lowers the “average” pelvic mesh case value, perhaps laying the groundwork on what is ahead in the near future – settlements to put behind the company this dark chapter of defective medical devices.
One advantage of a settlement is that the woman receives her jury award sooner. By comparison, Linda Gross who won a case against Ethicon over the Prolift prolapse mesh in February 2013, is still waiting for an appeal by Ethicon to wind through the courts.
With the exception of a few cases won by Boston Scientific, plaintiffs are finally having their day in court and the wins are almost exclusively on the side of the plaintiff. Just how many more losses can defendant mesh manufacturers take without finally agreeing to settlements? It will happen, and probably soon but again, it will never be enough to not only restore health but to send a message to the companies to discourage their reckless rush to profits at any cost.
Mesh News Desk (MND or MMDND) has been covering the issues surrounding pelvic and hernia mesh for nearly four years now. If you are new to the issues surrounding the controversy, please visit the search bar or click on the topics. You will find a world of coverage. You may want to start with Resources and our Facebook page.
There are now more than 72,000 lawsuits filed in Charleston, West Virginia, consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL). These are transvaginally placed pelvic mesh affecting women, not hernia mesh, though it is the same mesh and often the adverse events are similar. Both meshes are made from polypropylene, a petroleum-based product that is not inert and continues to change in the body. Many doctors feel that there is no time line on when a complication can occur. Mesh has been called a ticking time bomb for that reason. Mesh placement has been called “experimental” because it never went through any clinical trials to assure safety. That was not required by the Food and Drug Administration.
The longer these manufacturers wait, the more evidence is coming forward about the dangers of polypropylene mesh. Right now, the autoimmune issues, so common in many after their implants, are being explored. That will add another injury to the plaintiff’s long list and will not spell well for the mesh makers.
Even as U.S. manufacturers take some of their most troubling pelvic meshes off the market, they export them. Mesh News Desk is hearing from women in Ireland, Scotland, Israel, So. Africa, among other places, who are the recipients of these U.S. rejects.
Many wonder why that is not criminal negligence.
If you are new to the mesh issue, or suspect those symptoms you’ve been having for some time may have started after your implant, you are not alone. Besides pelvic pain from mesh shrinkage and scar formation, many women feel a burning and pulling sensation, experience ongoing infections, develop rashes, dental problems, joint aches, even fibromyalgia and lupus.
If you suspect your implant may be negatively affecting your life, it’s important to go to a mesh expert. The established medical community does not offer them on every corner. You must seek them out. Look up our doctor directory and please avoid the doctors who have been involved in implanting mesh that has gone wrong. Most experts now believe that partial removals may leave the patient in worse shape, so it’s important to have as few removal surgeries as possible to get as much as is humanly possible, if removal is warranted at all.
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Thanks to Courtroom View Network for access to trial video feeds. I encourage mesh injured and their families to attend one of these trials in person if you can. Even for one day. It is amazing how much information must be carefully explained to a jury. One comes to appreciate the U.S. jury trials. If you ever are a juror, consider it an honor to listen to the evidence in a case and be asked to issue an opinion.
GoFundMe – Your donations are appreciated to allow court coverage, even in the form of mileage for hotels and air. Also much appreciated are your thoughts shared with the website. For those wanting to donate – there is a GoFundMe page to contribute to journalism in the public interest. Indy journalism is a challenging road, to say the least, but the need is there, and I believe the support is as well. (Please if you are mesh injured and suffering financially as well, you do not need to contribute).
Bruiser –PS Bruiser, your editorial assistant, who was born with a compromised liver, is doing well. He is stable with meds. In May he will be 5 years old. It’s amazing how the body can compromise when it needs to!
Your emails are never shared unless you request. Providing your email may result in enrollment in the newsletter. Thank you all! Hang in there friends. A new year, renewed determination!
Jane Akre, Editor