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A New Orleans woman indicates that she was left with permanent health problems from a Mirena IUD, even after she had the birth control implant removed from her body, according to a recently filed lawsuit.
In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 10, Sheena Cheneau claims that Bayer Health Care manufactured and sold an unreasonably dangerous product, which has left her with persistent migraines, severe headaches, blurry vision, nausea and dizziness.
The 32 year-old indicates that a Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) was implanted in her body in September 2009, for long-term birth control. However, within a month she began experiencing various health problems, but did not realize the symptoms were caused by a medical condition known as pseudotumor cerebri (PTC) or idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), which involves a build up of fluid pressure in the skull.
Cheneau indicates that the Mirena IUD remained in place for about four years before it was removed, but she has been left with permanent injury as a result the hormone levonorgestrel (LNG) released by the device.
Although levonorgestrel is known to cause PTC/IIH, the lawsuit indicates that Bayer failed to provide any Mirena warnings that women should be on the lookout for signs or symptoms of neurological problems that may result from a buildup of fluid pressure, which may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve.
“Had the health risks of using Mirena been disclosed to either Plaintiff or a reasonable physician selecting/prescribing Mirena, or a reasonable treating physician made aware of the risk of Plaintiff’s Mirena use, all after being apprised adequately of the actual health risks and dangers posed by Plaintiff’s Mirena use, neither Plaintiff nor her physicians would have selected Mirena as Plaintiff’s choice of birth control, and/or would have discontinued Mirena use once made aware of the risks,” according to the complaint.
Cheneau’s case will be consolidated with hundreds of similar Mirena IUD lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, each involving similar allegations that women were left with problems from the long-term birth control implant.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the cases are currently centralized for pretrial proceedings as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is pending before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Englemayer in the Southern District of New York.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings, it is expected that Judge Englemayer will schedule a series of early “bellwether” trials to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the cases. However, if the manufacturer fails to reach Mirena settlement agreements or otherwise resolve the litigation in the MDL, each of the cases may ultimately be remanded back to various U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates in the future.