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Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Scheduled for Trial in N.J. Ethicon/Gynecare Litigation

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The first Ethicon Gynecare pelvic mesh lawsuits are scheduled to go before a jury near the end of next year in New Jersey state court. 

Judge Carol E. Higbee, who is overseeing the consolidated Ethicon vaginal mesh lawsuits in New Jersey Superior Court, has scheduled the first of a number of Ethicon Gynecare test cases, known as bellwether trials, to begin in November 2012.

Preliminary discovery for cases being prepared for early trial dates is to be completed by March 30, and expert witnesses are to be deposed by October 5, according to a scheduling order Judge Higbee issued on October 28.

More than 350 lawsuits over Ethicon Gynecare transvaginal mesh have been centralized under Higbee for pretrial proceedings.

The cases involves women who received Gynecare Prolift mesh, Gynecare Gynemesh, Gynecare Prolene mesh, Gynecare TVT sling or another pelvic mesh product manufactured by Ethicon.

The vaginal mesh products, which may also be referred to as a bladder sling, are designed reinforce weakened or damaged tissue on the pelvic floor that hold organs in place, such as the bladder, the uterus, the rectum the top of the vagina or the bowel.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that Johnson & Johnson and their Ethicon subsidiary knew the vaginal mesh products were unreasonably dangerous when used to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or female stress urinary incontinence (SUI), but continued to manufacture and sell them.

Plaintiffs allege that the companies manufactured a defective product and failed to adequately warn about the risk of serious and debilitating vaginal mesh problems, which can result in pelvic pain, infections, urinary problems, erosion of the mesh and other complications.

The bellwether lawsuits in the New Jersey Ethicon Gynecare litgation were selected for early trial dates to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to evidence that is likely to be presented in other cases. While the outcomes of these early trials are not binding in other lawsuits that have been filed, they are often closely watched by lawyers involved in the litigation, and could impact the potential value of any Ethicon Gynecare settlement discussions.

This summer the FDA issued a warning about the risk of problems with Ethicon Gynecare vaginal mesh and other similar products used for pelvic organ prolapse. The agency indicated that transvaginal placement of the surgical mesh for pelvic organ prolapse does not appear to provide any significant benefit over other available means of treatment, yet has been associated with hundreds of reports of serious problems.

Between 2008 and 2010, the FDA received more than 1,500 reports of transvaginal mesh problems after pelvic organ prolapse repair surgery, including erosion of the mesh into the vagina, contraction or shrinkage of the mesh, infection, pelvic pain, urinary problems, vaginal scarring and other complications.

In addition to lawsuits over Johnson & Johnson’s transvaginal mesh products, product liability lawyers are also reviewing potential lawsuits for individuals throughout the United States who received other similar products manufactured by different companies, such as American Medical Systems (AMS), Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard and others.

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6 comments

  1. VICKEY Reply

    I had POP surgery in June 2011, when the PA and nurse were going over the pre-op papers with me they told me my doctor had succeses with his operations and he was the one who fixed other doctors mistakes.
    The sling made my incontinence worse. I had another surgery in June placing a tightner inside me, then another surgery in August to tighten it again. In both Sept. and Oct. I had a Durasphere injection in the muscles next to my bladder (painful – there is not enough numbing product to take that pain away). I still have pain below the navel ,in my groin, and down my leg. Plus my leakage got worse with each procedure. Sometimes it would be better for a week or two and then would be worse than before I had the first surgery. Now I have more of an incontinence problem plus pain.

  2. Sherry Reply

    I just had a TVT revision in December 2011 and now am 2 weeks post op. The pain is unbelievable and I have problems wlaking and even standing for a short period of time. I am unable to stand and cook or prepare supper and I need to sit. The pain is like a ripping tearing pinching agonizing I don;t know what else to call it, but it is unrelentless. I was checked for infection or hematoma and was told I had none. I also have groin pain and lower back pain and was told by my doc that i am suffering from back pain due to positioning on the OR table. Well the pain is severe in the front so I am not even sure how that relates..I have 3 kids and a grandchild on the way, I am very active and work 2 jobs; 1 full time and 1 part time to keep afloat, I am not sure if this continues what I am going to do. Maybe I am jumping the gun but I am afraid I am going to lose my house. I am a very active person and enjoy kickboxing and going to the gym and such, so if this pain does not get resolved I don’t know what I am going to do. I am already on edge, no pain pills take the pain away and I do not want to be snowed on anything heavy. Wish I never had the revision done. My orignal surgery was 2007 and went well except the right side of sling dropped; but this time it is horrendous. I am actively seeking to have the mesh removed and hope this will solve the problem.

  3. Linda Reply

    I had my surgery 18 months ago. Life has never been the same. Constant back pain, inability to have a bowel movement even with laxative/enemas. They prescribed pain meds I did not want them either but it got so bad I had to start taking them. I found a gastro doc that started botox under anesthesia in the rectum and back and that has helped. Just had my 3 rd course as I get them every 12 weeks. Kind of scared because i am now have bowel incontinence at times. 48 years old use to go to the gym 4 days a week, run and cycle 120 miles a week. Now I wear depends. It does not look optomistic and I can’t believe they still reccomend it to women

  4. lromero Reply

    Ok so the last comment was mine. I am 2 weeks post surgery. I went to UCLA and had the mesh removed. I feel better already. The hospital and physician were fabulous.

  5. Michelle Reply

    I had pelvic prolapse surgery in August of 2007. The mesh eroded into my uretha. I have had 6 surgeries to date. I have pain in my back and down my leg, in the groin area. I also still have incontience I wear a pad on a daily basis. I am now having epidurals in my back to help with the pain. I am 37 years old and have 3 young children. They have seen there mama suffer through way too much. They often ask me if I am going to die. Of course we have the law suits but no amount of money could ever get my life back. I would not wish what I have gone through on any woman out there.

  6. Kimberly Reply

    I had pelvic prolapse surgery in August of 2012, The POP surgery has caused bladder incontience. In December I went in for the Bladder Sling and that seemed to make things worse. I have t wear depends or poise pads everyday now. I am 43 yrs old. The anxiety to just go to the doctors for a check up is numbing, because I am always told “well you will need another surgery”. Im in pain from my abdomen straight down my left leg, The nausia comes and goes. I too feel with the lawsuit, yes I may get money, but I am never going to be the same again.

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