In recent years, one of the biggest medical device horror stories has been the problems caused by a product generically known as trans-vaginal mesh. About half-a-dozen companies manufactured and sold trans-vaginal mesh under various brand names, but all products were used for similar purposes: To alleviate and correct a medical condition called pelvic organ prolapse. This occurs in older women when organs in the pelvic region begin to sag, leading to problems that can include urinary incontinence.
Surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse was quite popular for about a decade. But for many women, the cure turned out to be far worse than the condition itself. Trans-vaginal mesh can move (unintentionally) within the body, break down and even perforate the bladder. When these things happen, some women experience frequent and severe pain that can impede the ability to have sex, to exercise and to generally enjoy life.
Johnson & Johnson was one of the major manufacturers of trans-vaginal mesh, sold under its brand name Prolift. Although the company stopped producing Prolift in 2012, it now faces lawsuits from tens of thousands of women around the United States who were injured by the product, including women here in California.
Recently, plaintiffs in these pending cases received what may be a good omen. Late last month, a jury in Philadelphia awarded $12.5 million to the plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit against J&J. The 65-year-old woman has undergone multiple corrective surgeries after experiencing problems with Prolift, and she still suffers from health issues and decreased quality of life. One of her main complaints is that she can no longer have sex due to the extreme pain it causes.
According to news sources, the jury award includes $5.5 million in compensation and another $7 million in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson. Although J&J said it plans to appeal, this ruling will hopefully be an indication of how future cases may play out.
If you have been injured by a defective medical device or any other dangerous product, you may be entitled to receive compensation. To better understand your rights and options, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney.