Hernia Mesh Bowel Obstruction Caused By Problems with Ethicon Physiomesh, Lawsuit Alleges

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According to allegations raised in a product liability lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary, design defects with the Ethicon Physiomesh caused a hernia mesh bowel obstruction, ultimately resulting in the need for revision surgery to have the device removed.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Gerald Payne in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho on January 10, indicating that the Ethicon Physiomesh not only caused severe physical injuries, but “had not done its job” in repairing his hernia in the first place.

Payne received an Ethicon Physiomesh patch during a laparoscopic ventral incisional hernia repair in August 2010. Almost immediately after surgery, he began suffering from chronic pain where the mesh was implanted, and a noticeable bulge developed in that location.

The lawsuit indicates that Payne suffered weakness, loss of core strength, nausea, and had to wear a binder across his abdomen. By August 2017, his symptoms were severe enough that he was admitted to an emergency room and underwent tests which determined that the mesh was blocking his intestinal tract.

He was diagnosed with a hernia mesh bowel obstruction, resulting in the need for revision surgery to have the patch removed from his body. Payne’s doctor, Dr. Steve Williams, reported that the Ethicon Physiomesh failed to do its job and failed to properly adhere to Payne’s muscle as designed.

“Prior to the time that the Product was implanted in Plaintiff, Defendant was aware of numerous defects in the Product,” the lawsuit states. “Despite being aware of the numerous defects and unreasonable risks in the Product, Defendant manufactured, marketed, and distributed the Product with the intent they would be implanted in patients. Defendant was aware that implanting the Product in patients was likely to cause injury and harm to the patients into whom the Product was implanted.”

The case joins a growing number of hernia mesh lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide who have experienced complications following surgical 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.

Payne’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.

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