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A lawsuit has been filed over problems with Ethicon Proceed hernia mesh, alleging that the patch disintegrated inside the body of a Texas woman, leading to infection and other complications.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Shelly Coppedge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on August 2, against Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Coppedge was implanted with Ethicon Proceed Oval Mesh on August 24, 2009, but indicates that it did not alleviate her incisional hernia and instead made things worse.
In June and July 2011, Coppedge underwent revision surgeries after her condition worsened. She then discovered that the Proceed Oval Mesh had disintegrated and was the site of an infection.
Her lawsuit accuses Ethicon of strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of wages, physical impairment, pain and mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life. It also seeks punitive damages against Ethicon, due to the company’s alleged gross negligence in manufacturing, marketing and testing the Proceed Oval Mesh.
The lawsuit makes the Ethicon Proceed Mesh the latest in a number of hernia mesh products that have been the subject of product liability lawsuits alleging that problems were caused by design defects.
In recent years, C.R. Bard has faced several thousand lawsuits over it’s Kugel hernia mesh, which had a recoil ring that was supposed to make insertion easier. However, the ring often failed, snapping and puncturing intestines and causing other serious internal injuries. A number of settlements have been reached in that hernia mesh litigation, with an average payout of about $70,000 per plaintiff.
A growing number of hernia mesh lawsuits have been filed more recently against LifeCell Corporation over problems with Alloderm mesh, which is a biologic product made from donated human tissue. There are currently about 150 Alloderm lawsuits pending in New Jersey state court, alleging that the patch fails to hold its shape and can stretch up to 50%, leading to hernia recurrence, abdominal deformity and other complications.