Articles Tagged with transvaginal mesh

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Pharmaceuticals Are Big BusinessPharmaceutical drugs and medical devices are big business. In 2014, Americans spent $3 trillion on healthcare. Medical device and pharmaceutical drug companies are scrambling to meet the demand for healthcare products and services which is great for business, but not always for the patient.

Despite large amounts of time and money spent on drug and medical device research and development, those drugs and devices don’t always work as intended. This often results in lawsuits. With so many patients taking a given drug or medical device, there are often thousands of lawsuits pending all around the country. In order to handle the cases as efficiently as possible, they are often consolidated into a multi-district litigation, or MDL.

Three notable MDLs that are ongoing and set to make waves in 2017 concern Pinnacle hip implants by DePuy Pinnacle Orthopaedics, the Xarelto blood thinner produced by Janssen Pharmaceutica and Bayer and pelvic mesh implants manufactured by a variety of companies.

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Transvaginal Mesh Appeal
I have written about the maddening ways a product liability case can go on (seemingly) forever. An injured person may wait years to get to a jury trial. And then, if the individual wins the trial and the jury awards a substantial amount of money for the plaintiff’s injuries, the product manufacturer will appeal. You can read about appeals here. But the appellate courts are not there solely to protect big business. When the injured person loses her jury trial, she also has the opportunity to appeal. Often this is more difficult for the individual than it is for the large corporation, which has much more money and time, but appeals courts are there, in theory, for all of us, the powerful and the less-powerful. A week ago, an injured woman won her appeal and was granted a second opportunity to try her transvaginal mesh (TVM) case against Boston Scientific Corporation, which she had lost in 2014.

Let’s back up.

Boston Scientific’s Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit transvaginal mesh was implanted in Diane Albright in 2010 to treat her pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Rather than make her well, the TVM caused her many other problems and serious injuries. In 2012 Ms. Albright sued Boston Scientific Corporation in Massachusetts over its failure to warn of the risks of the Pinnacle mesh product, as well as the defective design of the mesh.

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Transvaginal Mesh MDLLet me get right to it: Judge Clay Land has a point. On September 7, 2016, Judge Land issued a blistering Order in the Mentor Corporation ObTape Transobturator Sling Mesh multi-district litigation. In a nutshell, he wrote that he was fed up with frivolous claims. Judge Land stated that he will consider money sanctions against plaintiffs’ lawyers who file and pursue lawsuits in the MDL that they know have no merit or which suffer from some fatal flaw. A fatal flaw could be the passing of the statute of limitations, or the failure to find an expert who can testify that the transvaginal mesh product caused the specific injuries to the plaintiff. In those cases, Judge Land writes, the plaintiffs’ lawyers ought to know better, and should not bring the claim in the first place, or should at the very least dismiss the action when the lawyer discovers a flaw in the case which is fatal to gaining a recovery.

The worst transgression identified by Judge Land is when the product manufacturer seeks “summary judgment” in a particular case and the plaintiff’s attorney simply throws in the towel on the case and does not even bother to show up for the court hearing. In those cases, even though the plaintiff is inevitably going to lose the case, the judge and the law clerks and court personnel and defense attorneys still have to show up and do the work of handling and deciding the motion.

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Transvaginal Mesh Warn LabelBetter late than never when it comes to warnings on potentially harmful medical devices, but the harm will only stop when the use of defective medical devices stops. Boston Scientific, a maker of transvaginal mesh and slings, is confronting the reality that its product can cause serious harm to patients. In June the company announced its products will carry a new warning label. Transvaginal mesh is used to treat common pelvic disorders in women, which you can read about here.

Boston Scientific is facing more than 36,000 product liability cases because of injuries the mesh has caused, including infections and erosion of surrounding tissue, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Transvaginal slings are used as treatment for incontinence and surgical meshes are surgically implanted to strengthen tissue in women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse.

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Most people have heard of the claim “loss of consortium.” It comes from the root word consort meaning to associate, to spend time, to hang out with. The definition of the legal claim goes like this: loss of consortium is a claim for (money) damages by the spouse or close family member of a person who has been injured or killed as a result of the negligence or wrongful act of another person. It is a derivative claim, which means it derives or flows from the primary injury to the spouse or family member. Essentially, it creates a separate plaintiff (usually a spouse) and “piggybacks” off the injury to the injured person. A loss of consortium claim cannot exist without the recognized injury to the spouse or family member.

The Lost Sex Claim

People sometimes think of loss of consortium as the “loss of sex” claim. And in fact, one important injury under loss of consortium is that the primary injury prevented a loving married couple from enjoying intimacy and sexual intercourse in the same manner they enjoyed before the accident. Let’s face it, when intimacy is lost or diminished based on the negligence of others, people should be compensated. It’s one big reason we have the derivative claim.

Sailing CoupleBut loss of consortium extends beyond married sexual relations. Suppose a married couple were passionate about sailing and took sailing trips most weekends, but the failure of an artificial hip placed a married woman in a wheelchair and made it impossible for her to climb onto the sailboat. In most states a loss of consortium claim could be made that the loss of this treasured activity deeply damaged the quality of life of the husband. Similar claims can be made for couples who actively garden together, play tennis, travel, or even cook.

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Woman with failed transvaginal mesh keeping symptoms journal

For thousands of women, transvaginal mesh has caused more problems than it has solved.  Women with TVM have reported infections, urinary problems, pain during sexual intercourse, scarring, bladder perforation, recurrence of pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence, and other problems.  If you have a transvaginal mesh implant and now suffer unusual pain or other symptoms, you need to take action quickly.

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