Transvaginal Mesh is a broad category of mesh that is used to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Stress Urinary Incontinence. The mesh is placed in the body surgically through an incision in the vaginal canal. The ideal result is that the symptoms around prolapse and SUI are controlled or reduced substantially. Over the years many women have found that the mesh fails and results in painful erosion and other side effects.
Definition of Pelvic Mesh
Transvaginal mesh covers a wide variety of implants. These implants are used for two primary types of problems. The first is Stress Urinary Incontinence and the second is Pelvic Organ Prolapse. The idea behind the mesh is to provide support in some way to a collapsing pelvic floor or bladder.
What happens with the implant surgery?
How is the Surgery Done?
The surgery is done through an incision in vaginal area. Typically for SUI patients this surgery takes a short time. Some women are sent home the same day while others may spend a night or two. This is something that you and your medical provider will decide on.
How Long is recovery?
Recovery varies for everyone, but typically recovery is several weeks before you are back to full activity.
What is the Mesh made of?
Most mesh is made of synthetic (man-made) material. Some mesh surgeries involve natural animal material. It is the synthetic mesh that these lawsuits are about.
What are the possible complications?
- Return of original symptoms such as incontinence and prolapse
What side effects can happen?
- Erosion of mesh over time
- Painful Intercourse
- Additional surgeries to remove or revise the mesh
What is Mesh Erosion?
Mesh erosion is when the mesh works its way back through the vaginal wall. When this happens it can become visible and be felt. This can potentially cause pain to both you and your partner.
Will mesh removal help my symptoms?
It can. There is a chance that it will not improve your symptoms. This is why you should have an in depth conversation with your doctor about additional mesh surgeries.
A recent study showed that Mesh removal surgery helped in just over 1/2 of the surgeries.
What happens to the mesh when it is removed?
When mesh is removed from your body it is sent to a pathologist. That doctor will examine it to determine if it has all been removed. If you are having a second surgery we believe it is important to collect that mesh. We do that as part of any case that we are involved in as we believe it could help your case against the manufacturer?
Have any of the Products Been Recalled?
No. But some of the companies have voluntarily withdrawn their mesh from the markets and no longer sell them. Some examples are:
- Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary stopped selling 4 of its Gynecare line in June 2012
- Bard stopped selling its Avulta Mesh product in July 2012.
- Boston Scientific pulled one its original Transvaginal mesh products from the market in 1999 only a few years after it was first introduced.
Who made these mesh products?
These are the major manufacturers:
- Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon)
- American Medical Systems (AMS)
- Boston Scientific
Have a Transvaginal Mesh claim or questions about one?
Why are there lawsuits?
Lawsuits are really to only way you as a consumer can receive compensation for your injuries. There is no other way to force the companies to actually pay you for what has happened. Filing a lawsuit will start the process and the clock.
When did they start?
These cases have been going on for many years. The first verdict against Bard was in California in 2012. Bard was held liable for $3.6 Million in damages in that case.
How many have been filed?
Some estimates have the number of lawsuits at 70,000+.
Where do I file this lawsuit?
Where you lawsuit is filed depends on which mesh you have implanted. The products are made by several different companies. There are lawsuits in several different states such as West Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia, California, Texas, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
Who can represent me?
Find a lawyer who has done this sort of work before and is currently handling these mesh cases.
Is it a class action?
No. These are each individual cases. Because there are so many filed lawsuits around the country, the cases can act like a class action because they all move through the legal system at a similar speed.
Is there a time limit to file?
Yes, absolutely. The time limits to file are different depending on which state you are filing in, and where you live and a number of other factors. The time limit is important to be aware of, because if a court rules that you have missed the time limit, then you might never be able to file.
When should I file?
Soon. You should determine if you have a case quickly and not delay.
Is my doctor going to get sued?
These cases are almost entirely against the manufacturers. In a very few cases where it is alleged that the doctor breached the standard of care, then the doctor may be brought into the case, but that is extremely rare.
What is Multi District Litigation?
Multi District Litigation is also called “the MDL”. The MDL is a federal court structure to more efficiently deal with the large number of mesh cases that have been filed. Some estimates have over 70,000 cases filed across the country. When these cases are filed, they very often will get transferred to federal court and then the federal courts around the country will then move them to one court for all of the pre-trial motions and decisions.
This is done so that the cases all have the same rulings and decisions. Then when the case is ready for trial it will be sent back to the original court where it was filed for the actual trial.
Lawsuit News and Updates
There have been several trials over the last few years. The last few have included trials in Texas, New Jersey and West Virginia. In most of those cases the juries found for the injured party. Some of what is happening now is that the cases are settling just before or during trial. This has happened several times in the last 6 months.
$5.7 Million against Johnson & Johnson
A California Jury recently awarded 5.7 million dollars in a case that was tried in State Court.
$2 Million Verdict Against Bard
In July 2013 in a Fedarl Court in West Virginia a jury awarded 2 million in a pelvic mesh case.
$18 Million Against Boston Scientific
In November 2014 in a case involving 4 individuals, the jury awarded 18 million including $1 million in punitive damages to each plaintiff.
How can I get a settlement?
Settlements are a natural part of the lawsuit process. You get a settlement when you essentially prove to the other side that you have a good case. You do this by being prepared for trial. That is often why you see cases settle at or near their scheduled trial date.
How large are the settlements?
All of the settlements so far are confidential. This is very common when you get to the point where the company will settle. They do not want the amount of settlement to get out. The only information about settlement amounts comes from the estimates we see in the news that take the global settlement amount and divide it into the number of people reported in the settlement. We saw that in the AMS settlements, which according to news reports had an average amount of $40,000. Even that is just a guess by the media.
How long does it take?
You ahve to plan on a few years between filing a lawsuit and receiving a settlement or getting to trial. It takes this long because of the number of cases that are already filed ahead of you, and it often just takes that long to get through all of the procedural hurdles.
Who is eligible for a settlement?
Everyone who files a case and can prove the important/required parts of the case is eligible. There is not a set formula to be eligible.