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Mullins Pelvic Mesh Trial Set for March

TVT from Meshed Up UK

Mesh Medical Device News Desk,  February 21, 2017 ~ After much delay, the Mullins case, a defective pelvic mesh trial of 24 women, is still on schedule for March 6, in Charleston WV.

This is an attempt by Judge Joseph Goodwin, who is overseeing multidistrict litigation in his federal court, to move along cases that appear to have stalled, especially Ethicon and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson.  J&J has the most cases before Judge Goodwin among the seven manufacturers of transvaginal mesh.  

The case, Mullins et all (Case No. 2:12-cv-02952), will be the first time Judge Goodwin has tried so many plaintiffs at one time.  The format for the trial is not apparent to those who will be participating, though seven plaintiffs law firms will be represented.  A rally is planned coordinated by the Mesh Awareness Movement.

Judge Joseph Goodwin

filed in the Southern District of West Virginia where cases are consolidated in multidistrict litigation. The defendant corporation is Ethicon, a division of Johnson & Johnson, one of seven defendants in this mass tort that contains more than 96,000 product liability lawsuits naming defective pelvic mesh. 

MAM rally in Charleston, WV in 2015

All of the plaintiffs have common questions of fact – all are from West Virginia and all were implanted with the Tension-Free Vaginal Tape (TVT) to treat incontinence. There are different implanting physicians but one of them is Dr. Eddie Sze, formerly of WV University Hospital.

All of the women claim injuries ranging from chronic pain and infection, mesh migration and shrinkage, painful sex, nerve pain and other problems. Most have had multiple surgeries to try and remove the polypropylene mesh used to treat incontinence.

TVT was introduced in the U.S. in 1998. It remains on the market and is still referred to as the “Gold Standard” treatment for incontinence, by some in the medical community (here). 

Dr. Eddie Sze, formerly of WV University Hospital

The Mullins defective product case was last scheduled to be heard April 2016. At that time it included 37 plaintiffs, some of who may have settled their cases or had them remanded back to state court. 

It includes allegations of design defect, manufacturing defect, negligence, a failure to warn, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, loss of consortium and punitive damages.

One reader to MND feels having so many plaintiffs in one trial is a plaintiff advantage.  “Think about this: if a design harms only one person, the jury will wonder if maybe that person was unique somehow. If a design harms 37 people, it is more obvious that the problem is the design/device.”

The last trials that were held in Charleston, were Tyree v Boston Scientific (2:12-cv-08633)  (coverage of the trial is here), which concluded November 4, 2014.   

In Tyree, four plaintiffs – Wilson, Tyree, Campbell and Blankenship, who had all been implanted with the Obtryx mesh, received compensatory damages totaling $18.5 million.

The Bellew v. Ethicon case, (No. 2:13-cv-22473), also held in Charleston, WV, settled after a four-day trial in March 2015.

Here is a MND story.   More background on the legal issues in the Bellew case are here.

Trial will commence March 6, 2017 at 8:30 am. 

16 Comments

  1. quesiqueno says:

    Finally, the target of all this trials is to get money. Can show interest in save lifes, to better quality of life etc, but obiusly if doesnt have millions around, nobody care.The patients are usadas for get money , and the system American and the layers are responsables for this.

    • Theresa says:

      Evidently you have no idea what it’s like. Imagine someone hurts you to where you have nerve damage, unable to be intimate with your partner, have to have numerous surgeries and then suffer from depression as a result. Would you not want justice or to pay all the money you have had to pay to doctors,hospitals and pharmacies? Tell me who is greedy now. The women whose lives have been ruined or the companies that won’t even take responsibility for their products.

    • Maria Garcia says:

      Who are you and please proof read your comments before you press send. light waiting and an 18 wheeler hit you and damaged you for life to where you couldn’t walk, stand, drive or work then and only then would you understand. On top of all that you could only receive 250K max which would not even pay your medical bills. Or I could be wrong because I edited your spelling below and it could go either way. If my edited version is what you were trying to say then you are right and I apologize.

      Finally, the target of all THE trials is to get money. THEY COULD show AN interest in SAVING lifes, to HAVE A better quality of life etc, but OBVIOUSLY if IT’S NOT A MULTIMILLION DOLLAR CASE nobody cares.The patients are USED TO get money FOR THE LAWYERS and the American JUDICIAL SYSTEM. THEY ARE THE ONES RESPONSIBLE for this.

    • Jane Akre says:

      I don’t quite understand what you are trying to say. The lawyers are representing you at trial. Period. Of course they expect to be paid for their time and effort, just as any professional expects to be paid. The lawyers are not responsible for your mesh injuries, the manufacturers made the product that injured you, assuming you are actually a plaintiff……..

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am one of the ones waiting for a trial with TVT Ethicon in New Jersey court.

    My lawyer is quietly expecting settlement months ago. Yet nothing.

    Could a lawyer interpret this please?

    http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/mass-tort/pelvicmesh/gynecare/CMO33.pdf

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been waiting going on 5 years now you guys may be lucky at least J&J you get to go to court but I have AMS and I reject it there ridiculous offers now I’m just waiting in limbo I don’t know when my kids will go forward

  4. Heather M says:

    I been dealing with pain, painful sex ,turned into non existent sex life with fiance. Depression, multiple infections, incontinence, going on third revision surgery .life on hold,can’t play with my son like I use to. I lost myself and just want my life back. Can’t take pain meds, so I’m living with this daily. My surgeon is in Georgia and I live in Sacramento,CA . Can’t afford to pay for airfare and hotel and expenses so I’m screwed. Any advice for me? HeatherM j+j and Ethicon are the companies Im dealing with since 2008.

    • Jane Akre says:

      Heather- I’m assuming you had pelvic mesh…. what type? Keep your medical records. In california, there are Dr. Margolis in the SF Bay area and Dr. S Raz at UCLA. Also in Seattle there is Dr. Una Lee…. all would be excellent to diagnose your problem and possibly help.

    • Still Standing says:

      Heather, did you go to a surgeon in Georgia because a lawsuit funding agency set it up or did you just find the best doctor for your revision in Georgia? Even if you had previous surgeries in Georgia, you should be able to get in to a good physician closer to home, depending on what your insurance company allows. You can always file an appeal if they deny your request. Also, someone posted a good article about travel resources that were available. Jane probably remembers where that is. It sounds as if you need a good team of doctors, not just one. Of course infections have to be treated quickly. Pain medications are not the only option for reducing pain. In fact, recent studies have shown that opioids for chronic pain are not safe long-term and dont provide the best pain outcomes over time. Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, antidepressants alone or in combinations with other non pharmaceutical interventions can help you manage your pain. Baclofen suppositories are very helpful in reducing pelvic muscle dysfunction. You need to have your depression assessed and treated. It is a common clinical result of mesh pain, but you do need to get help with that. It is not a stigma to ask for help. I have a Masters degree in mental health and I had to seek professional help. You need a good urogynecologist if you are having recurrent UTIs. Mesh shortens our urethra, which makes us more susceptable to UTI. ( I started taking a simple over the counter supplement, d-Manosse and have been UTI free all year. Before, I was having 20+ a year, so give it a try). Some doctors conclude UTI based on a pee in the cup sample. For those of us with mesh pain, a clean cathed sample should be taken to positively confirm infection. A urogynecologist is best equipped to manage this complication and assess other pelvic floor disorders that may be contributing to your pain. You should have a primary physician who can manage the complex aspects of your care, someone who looks at the big picture and fosters communication among your providers and you. Physical therapy may also help, especially with incontinence. As an aside, incontinence can cause you to brace, or hold in your pelvic floor to keep from peeing. Just this bracing can increase your pain tremendously. Create an awareness about this to see if you are bracing. As I have suggested In many posts, every single thing that is contributing to your pain has to be addressed and treated individually. One doctor cant cover it all. I hope that you can put together a team of provders who truly listen to you are are comitted to the patient-centered care that your deserve.

      • Kitty says:

        OMG. Medication cocktails..Better than a pain pill? I would much rather take a Narco than a VALIUM TRAZADONE AND GABAPENTIN cock -tail. Agh!

        • Still Standing says:

          Actually, you are assuming what I am taking and you are incorrect. And, yes, combinations of medications for our issues is preferable to pain pills per se. Pain pills do nothing to reduce hypertonic muscles from the mesh, they do nothing to help with depression ( science is showing that pain pills prolong depression because of the cognitive impairments they cause.) and they do nothing to address neuropathic pain, which is a pain syndrome all in itself. Yes, pain pills are much easier, but as I have said before, WE have to do work to make ourselves more functional. A pain pill may mask your pain temporarily, but intentionally focusing on your pain generators and doing what you can to alleviate these is the best course of action. Pain pills require very little physical, or emotional investment in self management. I would appreciate it if you would quit commenting to my posts with sarcasm. What good does that do for the women who are truly seeking support and encouragement?

  5. Jayne says:

    C.R. Bard Mesh 2007. Within days erosion. Removal. Abdominal & Pelvic abscesses. Cathater and vacuum. Hear nothing from lawyer. Who is the best Dr. To see for help with severe pain. Live in Boston. Good Lawyer, also. Primary care Dr. Doesn’t understand pain. Wants me off of oxycodone. Doesn’t take pain away, just takes the edge off. Any suggestions?

      • Still Standing says:

        Jayne, many physicians do not fully understand how to treat chronic pain. They spend very little time learning about it in medical school. That is slowly changing, very slowly unfortunately. Physicians are being mandated by the federal government to reduce the number of opioid type pain prescriptions they write as a result of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that Obama signed last summer. The FDA required manufacturers of narcotic pain pills to reduce the amount they produce by 33% in 2017. Unfortunately, they pulled the rug without putting in place mandated insurance coverage for other scientifically validated pain management interventions that can include chiropractic, cognitive behavior therapy, acupuncture, etc. That said, your doctor does have an ethical responsibility to work with you to find ways that reduce your pain. Just telling you to get off oxycodone isnt enough. Keep track of your pain for a few days. What does it prevent you from doing? When is it most severe? Does it interrupt your sleep? Is there anything you do that makes it better or worse? List those out and take to your doctor. Do foods increase pain ( dairy and sugar in particular drive inflammation, which causes pain)?

        It is hard to remember all of these things when we are rushed in a physician visit. However, you would not take your car in to be worked on and just tell the mechanic that something isnt working. You would tell him/her exactly what the car is doing. Telling your physician specifics about your pain is much more important to your wellbeing.

        Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is one of the premier pain research hospitals in the country. Their Brigham and Women’s Hospital is a Center in Excellence in Pain Education. Also, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. scientist who developed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and who founded the the Center for Mindfulness Clinic has had much success working with people who live with pain. Perhaps your could get some help there. I know their women’s clinic has been involved in pelvic pain research.

        The bottom line is that you have a right to be involved in your pain management plan. Often, it takes many different interventions, presciption and non-presciption, used together to get pain managed. If your primary doesnt want to do this, then he/she has a responsibility to refer you to someone who can. Just be prepared to be open to other non-narcotic interventions. Physicians are cautious given the new opioid mandates and what the DEA will do with those drs. who continue to prescribe high numbers of opioids. Many are just deciding to quit prescribing altogether. DEA investigations can be a fatal blow to medical practices, even if the doctor is eventually cleared.

  6. Disgusted says:

    I am behind the times, so this reply is late in coming. I would like to say that oxycodone is helpful in knocking down pain levels. I have tried cymbalta, gabapentin, lyrica, nucynta, savella . . . they have tried everything. I have adverse reactions to antidepressants. I also use a suppository that is made of valium, flexeril and lidocaine. I use B&O’s for severe urethral pain and spasms when they occur. I have a pudendal interstim implanted that has knocked my pain down, but not cleared it. I would not make it without the oxycodone, it allows me to move and have some life. I have been off of it for 3 week periods 2 times while recovering from surgeries and once when I was in a coma, I didn’t even ask for it the whole time I was in the hospital because I wasn’t moving. No moving – no pain. That is my experience. We are all different and with the negative conotations about oxycodone and addiction we need support to know we are not crazy. It has helped me.

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