Can you imagine undergoing surgery to change your life for the better, but realize the product surgically implanted placed you in a prison of pain? This is how one of our client’s, Linda Gross (“Gross”) described living life with her vaginal mesh(a/k/a pelvic mesh) in Gross v. Gynecare, Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No.: MID-L-9131-08. Gross suffered from complications caused by Ethicon’s vaginal mesh (Ethicon is a company wholly owned by Johnson & Johnson) and was awarded a total of $11.1 million from an Atlantic City jury at trial. Bloomberg reported, “The verdict came in the first of 4,000 lawsuits to go to trial over J&J’s pelvic mesh, including 2,100 in New Jersey.” The client, Linda Gross (“Gross”), a South Dakota nurse, says that her life was ruined by the synthetic mesh used to treat prolapse and bladder problems, even when she underwent eighteen operations. On July 13, 2006, Gross underwent a surgical procedure for the treatment of conditions including posterior pelvic prolapse. A Gynecare Prolift Pelvic Floor Repair System was utilized and placed into the plaintiff’s body. Gross suffered from multiple complications caused by the mesh, including mesh erosion, formation of scar tissue, inflammation, and neurologic compromise to her structures and tissue.
As a result of the complications, Gross was forced to undergo intensive medical care and treatment, multiple operations, and has sustained permanent pain, suffering, disability, impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, and economic damages. The mesh product is covered under the New Jersey Product Liability Act and the defendants were held liable for failing to warn about the dangers of the pelvic mesh and for deceit. New Jersey trial lawyers Adam Slater and David Mazie tried the case, and were awarded compensatory and punitive damages totaling $11.1 million.
In court, we informed the jury how a number of internal emails revealed concerns about the safety of the product, which was never properly remedied. The emails divulged that the mesh can wind up cutting into the organs, but is difficult, and sometimes impossible to remove. We further explained to the jury how doctors were kept out of the loop with all the relevant risks and complications. There were twenty-eight complications that were not mentioned and it was claimed that the mesh was soft, which is contrary to reality. Adam Slater reported to the Sunday Mail, a paper in England, that, “[r]eports also show there is a lifelong danger of erosion, of the mesh becoming exposed.” Slater further elaborated, saying that “[w]hen mesh goes bad, it can have devastating effects, leaving women with very little quality of life.”
The Sunday Mail stated that patients around the world are launching legal actions against a number of mesh manufacturers. “Many of the women have told us they were not properly warned of the possible consequences if the operation went wrong and that, afterwards, doctors insisted that they had just been very unlucky and were isolated cases.”