Ethicon Physiomesh Failed, Resulting in Irreparable Complications, Lawsuit Alleges

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According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed by a Tennesee woman, Ethicon Physiomesh failed following a hernia repair surgery, leading to severe pain and other complications, that future surgical may be unable to resolve. 

In a complaint (PDF) filed in New Jersey Superior Court on on June 13, Merlene Jordan indicates that she suffered severe reactions and mesh failure due to the design of the Ethicon Physiomesh hernia patch, which was pulled from the market in 2016, amid reports of similar complications.

Jordan indicates that a 15 x 20 cm Physiomesh patch was used to repair an incarcerated ventral incisional hernia in September 2012. However, after the hernia mesh failed, Jordan had to have a portion of the mesh removed in July 2014, due to severe pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

Doctors removed additional portions of the mesh in November 2014, at which time it was discovered that the mesh had essentially fallen apart, according to the complaint.

“Upon visualizing the Ethicon Physiomesh, [Jordan’s doctor] encountered fragmenting of previously placed PhysioMesh to the point where it was difficult to recognize the mesh at all,” the lawsuit states. “Merlene Jordan continues to suffer complications as a result of her implantation with the Ethicon Physiomesh. Merlene Jordan is at a higher risk of severe complications during an abdominal surgery, to the extent that future abdominal operations might not be feasible.”

The case joins hundreds of other hernia mesh lawsuits filed over problems with Ethicon Physiomesh and other similar hernia mesh products in recent years. While Jordan’s case was filed in New Jersey state court, most of the complaints have been filed in federal courts throughout the country.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, the federal courts have centralized all Physiomesh cases before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in the Northern District of Georgia, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. The process is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

There are currently 872 claims pending in the federal Physiomesh MDL. However, a petition was filed earlier this year in New Jersey state court, seeking to establish a similar centralized management for all Ethicon multi-lawyered hernia mesh lawsuits. If a New Jersey Multicounty Litigation (MCL) is established, Jordan’s complaint will be consolidated with dozens of other claims being pursued in the state court system, where the U.S. headquarters are located for Ethicon’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson.

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