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Johnson & Johnson Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Filed Over Problems with Ethicon Proceed System

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A growing number of product liability lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey state court, indicating that hernia mesh complications have been linked to Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Proceed surgical patch, which plaintiffs claim was defectively designed and does not belong in the human body.

Complaints filed over the past week in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Middlesex County each involve similar facts, where painful and debilitating injuries occurred after hernia repair involving Ethicon Proceed Systems, alleging that users and the medical community were not adequately warned about the risk of problems from the multi-layered polypropylene Johnson & Johnson hernia mesh.

On April 25, Kelly Sanderson, of Alabama, filed a lawsuit (PDF) that indicates she received an Ethicon Proceed Surgical Mesh as part of an incisional hernia repair procedure in August 2010. However, in November 2016, a surgeon had to remove necrotic and nonviable tissue due to an abscess, and it was discovered that the mesh had become infected and part of it and part of her small bowel had to be removed in January 2017.

On the same day, another complaint (PDF) was filed in the same court by Rowena Combs, of Oklahoma, who experienced problems after receiving Ethicon Proceed mesh during a hernia repair surgery in November 2009. Years later, in January 2018, she required revision surgery to have the mesh removed and need to have the recurring hernia repaired.

Two other lawsuits, including a complaint by Maureen Bustin (PDF) and a complaint by John Schneider (PDF), both filed in the same court on April 23, tell similar stories of mesh failure, recurrent hernias and the need for revision surgery.

Each of the Johnson & Johnson hernia mesh lawsuits highlight what plaintiffs say was a failure by the manufacturer to disclose problems with their product, or adequately warn the medical community and patients about risks associated with the design of the hernia mesh.

“Defendants had the ability to inform surgeons, hospitals, or GPOs of developing problems or defects in its devices through e-mail, letter, recalls, warnings in product inserts, and/or through its product representatives, who work directly with the surgeon,” Sanderson’s lawsuit states. “The multiple layers of the Ethicon Proceed increase the intensity and duration of the inflammatory response. That response in turn increases dense adhesion formation from underlying organs to the Ethicon Proceed, resulting in bowel complications, mesh contracture, hernia recurrence, increased foreign body reaction, chronic severe pain, and more.”

The cases join a growing number of similar Ethicon hernia mesh lawsuits pending in courts nationwide, most of which involve problems with the previously recalled Physiomesh product, which is another multi-layer polypropylene hernia patch that was removed from the market after it was linked to reports of problems.

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