Last updated Dec 28, 2018
Over the years, manufacturers like Atrium and Ethicon have continued to face lawsuits because of the serious and harmful effects brought about by hernia and pelvic surgical meshes.
Although hernia mesh was originally designed to support weakened abdominal tissues in a patient, many surgical operations have resulted in undesirable outcomes that have consequently led to multi-million dollar settlements for plaintiffs.
Pelvic mesh is a bit different (particularly in its placement) but many of the patient injuries are the same. Judges are ruling in favor of injured patients and making medical manufacturers pay for their negligence.
So far there has been little sympathy for these multi-billion dollar medical device companies. Many of whom decided to fast-track their medical devices to market for greater profits.
Some patients have alleged that hernia mesh complications caused them injuries to their abdomen, bowel, and intestines. Many times requiring additional, corrective surgeries.
Some of the most well-known and documented complications arising from pelvic and hernia mesh include:
- abdominal pain
- leg pain
- groin pain
- nerve pain
- joint pain
- problems with liver or kidneys
- autoimmune disorders
To better illustrate the gravity of the situation, below is a list of pelvic mesh and hernia mesh lawsuit settlement amounts and trial awards resulting from pelvic and hernia mesh implants.
Johnson & Johnson – $20 Million
A woman claiming to be in constant pain because of using Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon’s TVT-Secur pelvic mesh was awarded $20 million in April 2017. Although a spokesperson for the company said its lawyers were still contemplating whether or not to appeal the judgment, the case was the fifth loss at trial that Ethicon had suffered in a row over their mesh products, which was introduced to the market in 2014.
Carl Tobias, a product liability law professor, told Bloomberg that continuing to take the cases to trial would be silly as Ethicon would continue to lose. He further added that there would be no sense to continue damaging the reputation of the company all while shelling out huge defense costs that come with each lost case.
Johnson & Johnson – $13.7 Million
Again in 2016, Ethicon – a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary was slapped with a verdict amounting to $13.7 million, including punitive damages of $10 million, for its pelvic mesh tape better known as the TVT. In the judgment, the jury declared that the plaintiff’s physician was wrong in using the TVT due to the risks associated with it.
The lawsuit was filed three years after Sharon Carlino, the plaintiff in the case, had undergone two pelvic mesh repair surgeries. The first surgery left some of the portions exposed, thereby necessitating the need for corrective surgery to get rid of it. She also suffered from chronic pain and scarring allegedly caused by the multiple surgeries and a defective mesh product.
Johnson & Johnson – $120 Million
In 2016, Ethicon agreed to settle thousands of court cases that alleged their pelvic mesh products were defective and that Ethicon had failed to properly warn doctors and patients of the dangers of implanting polypropylene mesh in the human body. These Ethicon mesh settlement amounts totaled $120 million.
According to the settlement papers, the lawsuits were filled by about 3,000 women who had suffered injuries and pain after the polypropylene mesh eroded in their bodies. Moreover, the risks were further compounded because the mesh erosion had also caused severe injuries to surrounding organs. Ethicon was accused of covering up the risks of using surgical mesh.
C.R. BARD – $119 Million
In 2015, women who had Pinnacle pelvic mesh implantations sued C.R Bard. These women filed 2,970 individual lawsuits claiming the mesh implant devices meant to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence were defective and the company hid known risks of using synthetic mesh in the human body.
Similar to hernia mesh allegations, the pelvic mesh surgeries resulted in adverse side effects and complications such as infection, bleeding, and pain, many times necessitating the need for corrective surgeries to remove the mesh. Instead of taking these cases to trial, C.R Bard agreed to settle these claims and paid $119 million to these women.
C.R BARD – $200 Million
Not long after settling the first 3,000 cases filed against them, C.R. Bard again agreed to pay an additional $200 million for another 3,000 pelvic mesh cases in August 2015.
These additional 3,000 lawsuits and the hundreds of millions of dollars paid again resulted from complications and side-effects of the Pinnacle pelvic mesh medical device.
BOSTON SCIENTIFIC – $34.5 Million
In 2015, a jury found that the company had acted in absolute negligence by using a defective product that had adverse implications. The product in question was Obytrx mesh, which the couple that sued for damages claimed was found to be biologically incompatible with human tissue. They further claimed that the benefits and safety were later confirmed to be misleading to the public.
Endo International – More Than $1 Billion
In April 2014, parent company Endo International paid $830 million to settle 20,000 lawsuits filed against American Medical Systems for problems with its Elevate, Apogee, and Perigee mesh implants. According to the lawsuits, the mesh devices were alleged to be defectively designed, causing numerous injuries and chronic pain.
Half a year later, Endo agreed to settle an additional 10,000 mesh cases for hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2014 alone, Endo International’s cost of settlements amounted to more than $1 billion.
Boston Scientific – $45.2 Million
A judgment in favor of women found that the Obtryx surgical mesh had caused pain, dyspareunia, and organ damage. Each of the women received roughly $6.5 million. In this case, the Jury found that the company acted in negligence by failing to notify the doctors and patients of the known dangers and complications associated with mesh.
Soon after, an additional $26.7 Million was awarded to four plaintiffs. The verdict included $4 million in punitive damages and $14.5 million in compensatory damages.
Endo International – $54.4 Million
In June of 2013, Endo International faced more than 7,000 individual lawsuits arising from its pelvic mesh product. Endo paid $54.4 million to settle the lawsuits.
C.R. BARD – $184 Million
In 2011, C.R. BARD settled more than 2,600 lawsuits that resulted from their defective hernia mesh. In this particular case, recoil rings that were expected to spring the mesh open failed, resulting in injuries such as fistulas and abscesses in patients.
In the years to follow, C.R. BARD admitted that it had cumulatively settled more than 3,000 lawsuits in total as a result of the Kugel hernia mesh product.
Each year, about one million mesh surgeries are conducted in the United States alone. And while many of these operations result in good outcomes, as reflected above, many thousands, unfortunately, lead to serious complications and side effects requiring additional surgeries and much pain and suffering.
As of this time, other than the 2011 C.R. Bard settlement, there have been no publicly reported large group settlements or trial verdicts for hernia mesh products such as Ventralex, C-QUR, and Physiomesh. No doubt, such settlements, and verdicts are coming.
Published by The Mesh Attorneys
Author, creator and expert on hernia mesh related injuries, cases, and settlements.