Trudy Thomas: Suffering in Silence and Financially after Kugel Mesh Settlement

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Trudy Thomas: Suffering in Silence and Financially after Kugel Mesh Settlement

Trudy Thomas (right) and her daughter Kandace

Trudy Thomas is 53-years-old and the song, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all,” might be her anthem.

Thomas lives in Cascade, Colorado near Colorado Springs and halfway through our profile interview, she had to flee her mountain cabin.

Flames invaded the canyons around her home where she lives alone with her dog, Blackjack. For several days she was on the road, sleeping in her car, at her daughter’s house and out of communication.

She had no idea whether the modest one bedroom wooden mountain cabin she calls home would be there when she returned as the entire Manitou Springs area was wiped out by fire that started a mile from her home in Waldo Canyon.

Thomas is now back at home which was spared except for the soot damage inside which was cleaned up with the donation of supplies from the Red Cross.

We returned to our earlier conversation about her hernia mesh injury and the settlement offer she has received. If a plaintiff ever was led to believe a settlement would make them whole, Trudy’s story might serve as a wake-up call.

Editors Note* Thomas was represented by two law firms but she produced a certified letter she sent to the attorneys dismissing them from the case. She no longer wants to be represented and has refused the low five-figure settlement.

Trudy’s Kugel Mesh Story

On December 6, 2006, Thomas had Kugel mesh, sold by C.R. Bard, implanted to treat a hernia.  The Colorado Springs native had been helping an elderly couple stay out of a nursing home while Thomas was recovering from a bout of cancer of her cervix, stomach and ovaries.

“I had no education after high school and was unable to get Medicare and Medicaid. They just dropped me. I had no idea why. They (the couple) were helping me get back on my feet,” she tells MDND. 

Upon moving the man out of a chair, she felt her hernia. She was fitted with the Kugel Mesh Hernia Repair Patch. But almost immediately Thomas could tell the Kugel mesh was not going to be a good fit.

“I couldn’t tolerate the pain. I kept going back in the hospital. It was January 1, it was a holiday.  I went into respiratory failure. The tissue surrounding the Kugel mesh had died due to gangrene.  I don’t remember much about that time period. I remember screaming in pain,” she says today.

Thomas was in intensive care with a perforated bowel and partial obstruction. Her gallbladder also turned gangrenous she says and had to be removed.

Five surgeries and six weeks in the hospital later, Thomas had the Kugel mesh removed when her surgeon said it was the cause of the infection. The mesh was not saved so she has no idea if the ring broke, the cause of many Kugel mesh complications and the basis for the larger Kugel settlements.

“The surgeon said your body didn’t take to it.”

By then a friend has brought to her attention the Kugel mesh claims being filed across the country. Thomas got on the internet. With a few inquires, she suddenly found “every attorney wanted to take my case.”

Even without Kugel mesh, Thomas says the Kugel mesh mess continues.

“Since then I’ve had eight bowel obstructions, all of them adhesions which are now strangling my bowel,” she said adding that she has lost over half of her intestines. Thomas says she can never be far from a toilet. Unable to work she has lived on Social Security disability and Medicare and Medicaid. Thomas says she receives about $650 a month in assistance and $150 a month in food stamps, barely enough to keep her in the uninsulated summer cabin or pay for the cost of a space heater in bedroom and gas heater in the living room during the colder months.  Not to mention food.

Shortly after the introduction of the Composix Kugel mesh patch in 2002 problems began to emerge. The ring, which was design to spread the large patch once inserted, was breaking, causing complications in users.  Initially Davol, the manufacturer and a subsidiary of C.R. Bard, Inc, blamed the doctors for the injuries, but by December 2005, the FDA ordered a recall of the Bard Composix Kugel Mesh Hernia Repair Patch. The recall was updated in March, 2006 and again in January 2007 after the FDA found several fatalities and more than 80 injuries resulted from the Kugel hernia patch.

The first lawsuits were filed in Rhode Island in December 2006.

By July 17, 2008, Thomas joined the Kugel mesh litigation filing her case in Superior Court in Rhode Island, the home state of C.R. Bard.  Her complaint requested a trial by Jury.

One mile from Thomas’ Home

Kugel Mesh Settlement

On July 6, 2011, C.R. Bard Inc. extended a settlement offer totaling about $184 million to settle 2,600 lawsuits with injuries that ranged from death to intestinal fistulas, sepsis, and bowel perforation, among other complications.

Although the conditions of the Kugel mesh settlement are confidential, online websites host chats among those plaintiffs on the receiving end of the settlement who largely express dissatisfaction.

Originally, many stated they would not sign onto the defective product settlement.

Thomas received a smaller settlement because it was believed her Kugel mesh ring did not break.

Before the settlement was announced, and fearing she would be homeless, Thomas took out a $5,000 lawsuit-related loan to pay some bills and keep the lights on. She says she was told a settlement was forthcoming so she felt she could handle the $400 a month in interest payment.

“I figures if I was getting a settlement in a few months it would be worth the risk. I needed the money really bad and I took a chance believing my attorney on this. I had to do it.”

In March 2010 she got the loan, which after initial fees was only $3,500 in cash. By June of 2012, the loan with interest had swelled to $15,000.

Take the Settlement

“I said right away I’m not taking it. I want to go to trial,” says Thomas today. “They kept leading me on. Now I want out of it because I’m getting cut down on my food stamps and disability until I have proof that I did not accept the money,” she says.

Thomas says her food stamps were reduced to $89 a month and Social Security is now down to $650 every month.

“I have to pay utilities, I’m about to get evicted. I’ll probably have to live in my car. I don’t know.”

In response she sent a notarized and certified letter to all attorneys and law firms involved (there are two) refusing the Kugel Mesh settlement.

Thomas says the law firm calls and writes her constantly to take the settlement.  She is also told she cannot file bankruptcy because the loan was an “investment” and cannot be dismissed as other debts are in bankruptcy.

“I’m getting bills by the millions from Medicare they want me to pay back. I’ve had 17 surgeries after Kugel mesh and it’s all Kugel-mesh related. “

Mother Nature Strikes Again

As if the fires were not enough, last month Thomas was once again run out of her home by Mother Nature. Fountain Creek in Cascade began creeping dangerously close to her home and her road was washed out making travel by car impossible. During our conversation she said she might have to put on a backpack and take Blackjack and head from higher ground.  Thomas got a 911 warning call to evacuate from the nearby Colorado Springs police department.

“I had no way to get out” Then the electricity went out, which affected the well. I didn’t have any water. I just buckled down and went to bed,” she says adding that her phone got wet and she was out of communication for two weeks.

“I went down to the creek yesterday, furniture is washing down, lumber, it’s bad back there.”

But fortunately her home was spared.

Trudy and her daughter

“I’m just mad. I’m on the toilet 24 hr a day. It’s so depressing for me. I hardly have any intestines left and I’m not eating or sleeping properly. I couldn’t possibly work, I wish I could. The lady at Social Security said if I claimed I was suicidal I could get more money. That’s not me I refused that.”

“I just want this to stop and to get my benefits back to where I was.  I’m a really energetic person and try to be happy person most of the time but this is taking my integrity, self esteem to where I’m getting low in life. I’ve got so much to offer in this world, I really do and it’s taking everything from me. I’ve been trying to find a church close by, just to be by God.  I got into this case by the belief it would not affect my disability. Even if I got $2 million, one surgery would wipe me out.”

Postscript– Thomas supplements her food by eating from her garden and relies on food pantries to supplement her food supply.  She is still in a waiting mode and still refusing the Kugel settlement.  Thomas says she wishes she had never heard of a settlement. Meanwhile she is feeling well enough and is looking at a part-time job at a nearby school.

“I still feel like I have so much to offer, I just want to get back on my feet. I’m due a good turn,” she says. #



By | 2012-08-19T23:38:51+00:00 August 19th, 2012|News, Patient Profiles|35 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. Joleen Chambers August 21, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Trudy Thomas is a heroine. Let’s make sure she is not unsung! Tweet and share her story so that she is offered a fair settlement without a gag clause.

    • Jane Akre August 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Trudy’s story is a wake up call for all of you who are considering one of those pre-settlement loans. First, you might not get what you are expecting, as she found out…. and second, know what you are signing. Lawyers- any other recommendations here? No one wants to see someone harmed when they sought legal help and guidance to better a wrong.

      • Hope January 8, 2013 at 9:40 am - Reply

        Trudy, I am so sorry for what you have gone through, and I feel you need to do what you have to if you wish to survive. As I see it , you are suicidial if you do not tell the State that you are and get the financial support you need right now to survive. Obviously if you do not get more money to live right now you will not have food and shelter. In your condition that is the definition of suicidal.

        I do not mean to come off as unsympathetic as I truly am, but I will not let my pride get in the way of helping myself and trying to help others. You can not help yourself or anyone else if you are not given the proper resouces to do so.

        You said it yourself, “you are to sick to work”. Being stressed out about how you are going to survive day to day with out assistance is not an option.

        There is help out there for you, you just must be willing to do what ever it takes to keep on keeping on. If that means telling the state you are suicidal than so be it.

        Perhaps unerstanding that killing yourself slowly from malnutrition, sleep deprovation and living in an unhealthy enviroment is suicide will be enough to persuade you to ask the proper authorities for help.

        They have the money to help you, and it is there specifically for people that need the help.

        You have been victimized enough, you do not have to be a martor.

        I hope you do not take affense to my candidness, it’s just that I want to pass on a message of Hope (no pun intended), and teach others how to live in the solution rather than the problem. You must take advantage of the resources you have available to you today as they may not be here tomorrow.

        Respectfully and with Love,


        • Trudy Thomas January 9, 2013 at 2:03 am - Reply

          Dear Hope,.

          I respect your comment on your concerned input on my tragic story. Yet i have to tell you stating that i shouldcry suicide is a bit of an insult.

          I feel my surving without the “cry suicide” makes me feel stronger and with the little control of my life. Im not going to deny i dont have thoughts. But to surender to them by the way you commented i will loose every little bit of intregedy, and freedom and selfworth. Im proud ive made it this far. Im not asking for pity, hope, or am i saying my problems are worse then anyones.

          I understand and i do know there to resources out there. I have written letters to every goverment offical and have made 100s of phone calls to try to better my life. It would take me hours to explain and to proove to you how wrong you are in saying to me what you said.

          I just dont understand how you can judge me for someth you nothing about. You have no idea how hard i try no idea at all. Its pretty sad to know theres people out there like you who can say such judging and insulting words.

          • KIM September 18, 2013 at 11:18 pm


        • Trudy Thomas January 9, 2013 at 2:35 am - Reply

          Dear Hope.

          In conclusion with your comment i have to feel you have never ever have had anyth close to what ive lived through. Or you would not have written a comment that i take very hurtful. In fact anyone who knows me would tell you theres not anyone who trys as hard as i do. You have not one clue Hope what anything is like living in my shoes. Not one clue.

          If i was to read more comments like yours that would take me over the edge.

          And just to show how sensitive your comment is to me, my sister my beautiful loving most caring sister in the world commited sucide afew years ago. And i found her. That same month i found my best friend and my brothers fience in one month all suicides.

          So you hit a pretty tender sore. I believe in God to the fullest. And my faith is only things that keeps strong. And thers people like Jane Akre who has come into my life and gives strength and afeeling of hope a selfworth. She has been my angel. .and my voice on this unbelievable lawsuit. She has shown me human compassion then anyone in my life.

          There should be more like her for she gives unconditional suport and never ever an insult that i should be doing better. She gives a feeling of selfworth that no one could come close. I will forever be grateful for her most kind and caring suport that she has giving me

          She has never said a word to insult me or demean me. Shes a rare human being. She keeps my spirit up my hope and my fight to keep obtaining back my benifits. She believes everyword ive told her and shows the kind and caring sugestions.

          So please Hope i ask you from words from heart. Please be careful on commenting the way you did me. Im sure in your eyes you were trying to help. But unless youve lived in my shoes one day you would see that your comment was one that i feel was insulting. Infact i hope i dont read momments like yours.

        • KIM September 18, 2013 at 11:13 pm - Reply


      • Linda Karen Miller August 25, 2015 at 12:15 am - Reply

        Jane when will my case be settled? Please let me hear from you my attorney is Muller & Muller in Texas

        • Jane Akre August 25, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

          I’m not an attorney, I’m sorry. It depends on your mesh maker and whether yours is hernia or transvaginal. Those are the questions your law firm is being paid to answer… hold them to it!!

  2. mary jones August 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm - Reply

    love, hugs and many many prayers from Evansville, Indiana, Trudy.

  3. Trudy Thomas September 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Thankyou for your kind and caring words. You all have no idea how much it helps to hear that people care. Pretty alone in my world and it brings tears of joy to see that there are people who care. I thankyou from heart and my lonely painful world.

    • jeanne September 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      To suffer physically and to wish you didn’t have a vagina can physically put you on the streets. I live way below the poverty level, need to eat ‘clean’ food so I can eliminate. I’m just thankful I figured out what was keeping me from healing. I’ve lost everything several times, now. I truly understand why God and I planned all these years of agony-to help others understand what M.D.’s, Drug companies (they support medical schools), and Oil Companies (petroleum in most pills) are doing to generations of beautiful human beings and the animals they test them on; past, present and future. Awareness is evolution. Love to you.

      • Trudy Thomas September 22, 2012 at 2:03 am - Reply

        Reading what you wrote… I have to believe we are so much the same. But how sad it is to hear there are so many like us in this tragic devasitation this has left us in. I am almost speachless to know what to say back to you. My heart feels your pain and uncertainty of the future this has left us in. This has not only taken our quality of life our dreams and our self integrety, it has left me to only live for a purpose to leave me with that same thought.

        Theres not a day that goes by that I cant help to feel the pain the fear the demeaning and struggle this has left me in.

        I fight my feelings everyday for God to to give everything I was. And everything I wanted to be. Its left me feeling so alone and terrified.

        Yet reading your words made me feel in way comfort that it gave me hope in such a odd way. It gave me a sense of a connection with

  4. Trudy Thomas September 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm - Reply


  5. Trudy Thomas September 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    Just when you think things are calming down..cell phone breaks (unable to buy another one. This samsung tablet has to be returned. So there goes my any form of communicating. Then I recieved a letter that im loosing medicare..there goes my vb disability.. And I just had my 30th surgery. Im terrified of my future. Im needing prayers. Im needing signs of hope.

    • Betty September 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      I’m so sorry you are facing all of this. You are not alone!! I am praying you will get a sign of hope. 30 surgeries?? Words cannot express . . . I pray we will all see deliverance from the medical community and greed.

      • Trudy Thomas September 27, 2012 at 1:15 am - Reply

        Thankyou Betty. That means more then you could know. I am thou though pretty alone as far as family or friends. Even sadly to say my daught to has abandoned me. I dont know why these things keep happening. I believe in God to the fullest. Im not able to attend churches. Not even any gas. And my insurance has lapped. and I could go on and on. I just want a little of life. And so less hurt and worry and pain. Your words gave me hope. Thanku from my heart Betty!

        God Bless..

      • Trudy Thomas September 27, 2012 at 1:23 am - Reply

        And yes 30. But this last one was to reconstruct my nose and throat. From so many enji tubes that were used for all my obstructions. They had to shave my pallet as well. My nose and throat were so messed up I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. But now geting off all the sleep meds I have insomnia. I feel im loosing my mind from everyth. It helps so much to vent this..thanku.

  6. Trudy Thomas September 27, 2012 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Thanks to all! & thankyou Jane for writing my story!

  7. Trudy Thomas October 2, 2012 at 3:48 am - Reply

    Jane… Everyday I wake up and I thank God for sending you my way.

    I hope you know how thankful I am and to tell you, you have given me new hope and a sense of inner justice for what this has done to my life! You are a truely amazing woman! I will always be grateful!

    Trudy Thomas 🙂

  8. Della Ratcliff November 4, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Hello. I am trying to get information regarding the hernia mesh lawsuit. I have never heard of it or been notified of the mesh recall. I ran across it online while researching to see if anyone has had same type of horrible complications that i have had since i had the nissen fundoplication in 2005. I was on a liquid diet for 14ths due to choking everytime i would try to eat. But i would and still to this day get choked on pretty much anything. The surgeon who performed my operation is no longer practicing due to losing his licenses for malpractice. In august 2006 my wrap was redone. But no relief and i cannot get a dr to help me due to having no insurance. I have lost 47 pounds due to this, i have severe pain everyday, large lump on my upper stomach, chest pains, nausea, cant lay on my back because I start to choke. The surgeon also put 15 metal rivets in with the mesh wrap. I have stomach complications every day was recently hospitalized for 7 days due to going 13 days unable to even swallow water. I had to have a pick line to give me nurishment my heart rate stays low and blood pressure. Due to not being able to eat hardly at all i constantly keep migraines. I have tried to locate a dr to remove this but had no luck. I now just was in hospital again two days ago for same problems. When my surgery in 2005 was performed the dr had to lift my spleen to do surgery and i am having severe trouble with my spleen now being very enlarged. I just want my life back this really has put my life upside down!! If you can be of any assistance on who i contact regarding my case it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking time to read this. I pray that you will get your life back to normal as well!!


    Della Ratcliff


    • Trudy Thomas November 7, 2012 at 11:45 am - Reply

      Hi crying after reading your story. My heart feels your pain. Im so so sorry to hear all this pain you are going through! Its like reliving my past… I dont feel comfortable leaving my cell number on this site.. But I would really like to help you in whatever I can. Even if its just to have someone who knows your pain. So if you want to talk more about this to me my email is My prayers are with you. Hang there and mabe I can help you in some way. I feel your deepest pain!


  9. Judy December 4, 2012 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Both of you ladies, go to this sie ASAP. God bless you both, tears shed for you, prayers shared for you.


    Salt Lake City

  10. Mary December 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    GOD BLESS!!! I am going thru a odeal myself. I havent gotten a settlement offer yet. I understand it won’t be a big settlement because the memory coil did’nt break, the tack became loose, dropped down and porforated my bowel.Lots of things went wrong. That was 5 years ago this time of year. Bard and Davol sure know how to say “MERRY CHRISTMAS'(Ha Ha). Since then I have had 7 bowel obstructions. But I did’nt have to have surgery on any of them. They sure are painful! I hope things work out for the both of us. I will keep you in my prayers. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!!

    • Trudy Thomas December 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm - Reply

      Dear Mary.

      My heart and prayers are with you. Im so sorry to hear your going through so much pain.

      Its truely unfair how these high corporate attys who we are supose to trust are only in it for their own selfish reasons.

      They can never give back what has been taken from us. I pray for God to help and heal your body your pain and your heart.

      Im here for you anytime!

      God bless you,

      Trudy Thomas

  11. Bill White September 24, 2013 at 5:46 am - Reply

    Dear Trudy,

    I have found that 90% of the lawyers in the mesh area are pretty poor performers.

    Many are lazy and incompetent and “uncaring.”

    Deal with the best you can get– not with the biggest ads but the best “proven” track record of

    getting results. A good attorney is everything– and switch if he doesn’t perform.

    Good luck and God bless you and what you’ve been through.


  12. Eddie May 26, 2015 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    I have heard your cry and you’re not alone any more I got you.

  13. Trudy T December 2, 2016 at 12:04 am - Reply

    Havent been on this page for awhile. Just wanted to update alittle to what’s happening in my life.
    I haven’t had any more surg for quite awhile. But it doesn’t mean everything is all perfect. The kugel mesh I can say in all honesty changed my life forever.
    I still have problems with my bowels from the numerous obstraction that followed this mesh. I’m still suffering in silence because it’s frustrating and extremly difficult to make promises or plans. I never know how I will be feeling. It causes social disconnections in my life, because most don’t understand why I might be late or not show up at all for a invitation planned.
    I still endure pain. Not so much though but some times the pain level gets pretty bad.
    You learn in time to except the things you cannot change. That’s the hardest part to the outcome of this. You learn that ..well I have I can’t speak for others ..that I can actually feel a obstruction coming on and I know now the things I have to do to control it.
    I also want to let others know your not alone.
    Sometimes just talking to others who can relate is all one needs to keep your faith.
    I pray everyday for all the victoms that this mesh that has changed their lives and for all the kind caring people as Jane Akre who put me on this site and helped me so many ways so many times. And all the others affiliated with her.
    I will always be truly grateful.
    And never loose your faith you never know who’s life you might be touching and helping them get through this kugel mesh Mess. Whether it be enduring pain or to warn others about how medical company’s to atty arnt always who they say they are for the intentions of your life to get better.
    Speaking from my own opinion. .
    Most are greedy professionals who are really in it to line their greedy pockets up at the expense of sick and those in pain. Could careless about us who put our lives and trust in their hands. I honestly say in all truth that’s exactly what happenned to me.
    I hope all who reads this is having a happy healthy day!
    Never loose your faith.
    God Bless you all.
    Trudy T

  14. Geof S May 23, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Following a blunt force injury, a Kugel mesh was implanted (pelvic) with ONE incision. Many issues have now come into play, including seizures, diverticulosis, inflammation, infection, cysts, tumors, possible blood poisoning, abnormal STIR readings, etc. etc. Constant aching pain and balance issues.
    Any suggestions? Bard says no other issues are reported (?)

    • Trudy Thomas May 27, 2017 at 2:10 am - Reply

      I’m not sure what your asking me?

  15. Trudy Thomas June 23, 2017 at 1:38 am - Reply

    Hi to anyone reading my page.
    Just a update on my health. Unfortuantly, I have no doupt that the health issues that this kugel mesh has left me with is going to defiantly effect me the rest of my life.
    I actually thought at one point these pains and digestive problems might go away.
    Untell last week I was put back into the hospital for a perforated strangling bowel. My doctor even said my intestines completly quit working.
    So all I could do was let the nurses put the tube down my nose to my belly and see if I could empty my intestines that way. After a week of not even a ice chip or water fed only through my veins i was safe enough to go home. I just missed having my 36th surg.
    I’m still pretty weak and I really have to watch what I eat so I don’t have another obstruction.
    My prayers and all my love goes out to all who have live with this horable pain that leaves us lonely and a burden to our loved ones.
    I pray that things like the mesh all get the approval with the fda first. As with mine.. mine wasnt. And because of this careless act of puting it on the shelves at hospitals anyway that mabe these company’s will just stop puting our lives in danger.
    My body may have beaten down but no one can ever touch my soul. I give everyone reading this my blessings and my love.
    Trudy Thomas

    • Jane Akre June 23, 2017 at 9:50 am - Reply

      So sorry Trudy… please keep us updated on your condition. Has your kugel been removed? Can it be removed?

  16. Trudy Thomas June 23, 2017 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Forgot to mention on my update..
    I have just defeated my 6th tIme diagnoses with cancer
    This last time I was told my cancer was from a experimental drugh the goverment gave to woman to stop miscarrages. Called DES
    Since then most all the siblings of who’s mother took this drug are all well most now being diagnosed with cancer from it.
    But by the Grace of God I’m happy to report I am cancer free. Since 1998
    Just wanted to share something good.
    Thank you.
    Trudy Thomas

  17. Trudy Thomas June 23, 2017 at 1:51 am - Reply

    One more thing..
    Thank you.
    For all the kind a caring people who help with this site.
    Jane Akre. .you will always be my angel and someone I could never come close to express how grateful I am for everything you’ve done for me.

    • Jane Akre June 23, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply

      Trudy- you are wonderful. I wish you all the best.

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