This coverage is provided in conjunction with We Are Mesh Survivors, a coalition of synthetic vaginal mesh implant survivors united to demand justice for those who have suffered and to demand that existing products be pulled from the market until their safety can be demonstrated.
Jo Huskey, 54 took the stand in this, Day 4 of her trial against healthcare giant, Johnson & Johnson. Huskey, an Illinois woman, is tall and looked somewhat stronger than she had previously in this case.
She pleasantly recounted her days hiking, power walking, kayaking with her dog, Izzie on the boat helm. When she wasn’t speed walking five or six miles she would bike ten miles daily.
Ed Wallace (Wexler Wallace) showed her wedding picture with husband, Allen. It was the only weekend in May it didn’t rain, she said with a smile. The wedding cake was beautiful and tasted good too.
Huskey made fitness the focus of her life since an early unhappy marriage and extra weight. The physical therapy assistant had clients she attended and all was good. She and her husband had been in a car accident where she suffered back and neck injuries. She had had a hysterectomy and back and shoulder surgery, but none of those events keep her from her dedicated physical activities.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) was not a viable part of a fitness regimen. Leakage would occur at inopportune times. During a meeting with Dr. Gretchen Byrkit, Huskey was shown a SUI treatment brochure that featured the story of US speed skater, Bonnie Blair from a nearby town in Illinois. Huskey said she did not consider herself an athlete to that extent but seeing that endorsement spoke directly to her.
“I read her story because that impressed me so much. She was an athlete and was dealing with the same thing and had this done and it was successful.” Huskey said she relied on this endorsement.
Under questioning by Wallace, Huskey was asked if she was told if there was a problem, the device could be easily removed. “It was easily treated if there was a problem,” Huskey said she was told.
“Did you ever expect the TVT device to cause pelvic pain? No.
Did you ever expect the TVT device to cause levator spasms? No.
Did you ever expect it would be subject to degradation? No.
That it would rope or curl? No.
Are you in pain as you sit here? Extremely.
Huskey had the TVT-O mesh implanted in February 2011 as a treatment for her incontinence but by July she had ongoing pelvic pain. Remedies such as estrogen cream didn’t work and eventually she sought a partial removal. When that was unsuccessful, she was referred to a urogynecologist, who did another partial removal.
That doctor said he couldn’t remove all of the mesh because of how it was placed on her left side.
Huskey was asked to describe the ride home after that surgery. She started crying. Wallace approached the witness and said he was sorry.
“Does the pain ever go away?
Never its always there.
Do you hold out hope for the future?
I’m trying to because I know somebody out there will be able to help me” she said fighting back tears.”
Judge Goodwin interrupted a line of questioning about what Huskey had been told by her doctor. Under Illinois law, the learned intermediary is the doctor the manufacturer only has a duty to warn the doctor. A failure to do so is one of the elements of a defective product case.
Christy Jones was responsible for cross examining Mrs. Huskey.
Jones has been known to be aggressive in her pursuit of answers from a plaintiff but today she was rather matter-of-fact with Mrs. Huskey. Had she had problem with stress urinary incontinence as far back as 2008? Did she have a car accident in late 2009? In the fall of 2010 she hadn’t she been treated for pelvic pain?
You’ve seen a number of doctors for a number of years for a number of conditions, said Jones, wrapping it into a question.
The plaintiff lawyers are allowed one last set of question. Wallace asked Huskey if she had received reassurances from her doctor’s office that the type of mesh she had was not the “bad” mesh?
Yes, said Huskey. #