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Debilitating Pain Following Hernia Surgery Caused by Problems with Ethicon Physiomesh, Lawsuit Alleges

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According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed by a California woman, manufacturing and design problems with Ethicon Physiomesh caused years of debilitating pain following hernia repair surgery. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Sharon Smith last month in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and will soon be transferred to a federal court in Georgia, where hundreds of similar Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits are consolidated for pretrial proceedings.

Smith indicates that Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh was implanted during an incisional hernia repair in August 2012, but she continued to experience severe pain and never recovered. In October 2017, her surgeons confirmed that the debilitating complications were caused by problems with the Physiomesh product, which had been recalled from the market months earlier.

According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson and it’s Ethicon subsidiary failed to use reasonable care in the design and manufacturing of Physiomesh, and withheld important safety information from patients and the medical community about the risk of complications following hernia surgery due to mesh failure, adhesions, bowel obstructions and other adverse events.

“Defendants omitted the risks, dangers, defects, and disadvantages of the Products, and advertised, promoted, marketed, sold and distributed the Products as safe medical devices when Defendants knew or should have known that the Products were not safe for their intended purposes, and that the Products would cause, and did cause, serious medical problems, and in some patients, including Plaintiff, catastrophic injuries,” Smith’s lawsuit states. “Defendants have underreported information about the propensity of the Products to fail and cause injury and complications, and have made unfounded representations regarding the efficacy and safety of the Products through various means and media.”

The case joins a growing number of hernia surgery lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide who have experienced complications following procedures in recent years where Ethicon Physiomesh was used.

Given similar reports of complications, and the manufacturers failure to identify a solution for the problems, an Ethicon Physiomesh recall was issued in 2016, removing the hernia mesh from the market worldwide.

Smith’s’ lawsuit will be transferred to a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), which has been established for all cases filed against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon over Physiomesh. The case will be centralized with other claims before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in the Northern District of Georgia to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

There are nearly 500 Ethicon Physiomesh complaints currently pending in the federal court system. However, as hernia mesh lawyers continue to review potential claims for individuals who have experienced complications following hernia repair, it is ultimately expected that several thousand lawsuits may be filed in the Ethicon Physiomesh MDL.

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