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Problems with Ethicon Physiomesh allegedy caused an Oregon woman to suffer painful complications following hernia repair, according to a product liability lawsuit filed after the hernia mesh totally dissolved inside her wound.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Melinda Rall in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on August 22, naming Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary as defendants.
Rall underwent hernia repair surgery in September 2015, which involved the placement of a 25cm by 35cm Ethicon Physiomesh patch. However, the next month she was readmitted for a CT guided asperation of an anterior abdominal wall seroma. A year later, she was again hospitalized, but this time the surgeon found that the hernia mesh had become adhered to multiple loops of her small bowel. The adhesions were freed in a two to three hour surgical procedure, parts of the Physiomesh were removed, and additional mesh was implanted to fill in the gaps
In February 2017, Rall was again hospitalized for pain, recurrent incisional hernia and other problems.
“The Physiomesh implanted in Plaintiff appeared to have disintegrated or completely dissolved in the area of the hernia,” Rall’s lawsuit indicates. “The Physiomesh implanted in Plaintiff was also found to be disrupted with bowel bulging through. Plaintiff’s Physiomesh was removed from the surface of the underlying bowel.”
The lawsuit indicates that Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson had a duty to adequately design, test, and manufacture the mesh to ensure that it was safe and effective before being placed on the market. The complaint claims the manufacturers failed in that duty.
The case joins a growing number of Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits filed by individuals nationwide who have experienced complications following laparoscopic hernia repair in recent years.
Given the similar questions of fact and law presented in cases pending throughout the federal court system, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided last month to establish coordinated pretrial proceedings, centralizing all cases 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.
Rall’s case will be transferred to the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), which currently includes nearly 100 other claims. However, as hernia mesh lawyers continue to review and file additional cases in the coming weeks and months, it is expected that several thousand complaints will ultimately be included in the litigation.