Transvaginal mesh implants are designed to correct prolapse and urinary incontinence by creating a sling under the pelvic organs and bladder to keep them in place. But instead of improved health and quality of life, 10 percent of transvaginal mesh patients will develop excruciating, often debilitating injuries stemming from their mesh implants.
Implanted mesh can break apart, shift, and erode through the surrounding tissue, including the vaginal walls. Many women who experience these mesh complications not only must endure years of intense physical pain, they also suffer from injuries that lead to ruined intimacy and strained relationships.
One transvaginal mesh recipient told LawyersAndSettlements.com that she was engaged to be married until injuries from a mesh implant made by American Medical Systems made sexual intercourse too painful for her and her fiancé.
“I haven’t been able to have sexual activity with my fiancé without both of us experiencing pain and I don’t blame him for breaking off our engagement,” she told LawyersAndSettlements.com.
“For the past year or so, I’ve had chronic pelvic pain, which is getting worse, and recurring bladder infections,” she added. “Because of the inability to have sexual intimacy with my fiancé, I am also suffering from depression and weight gain. This transvaginal mesh has caused my life to become a physical and psychological downward spiral.”
The woman added that her “overall health” has taken a toll because of the injuries and she is having financial difficulty due to the work she has missed from getting tests, lab work, and looking for a doctor who might be able to help her.
“I don’t think that my doctor knows what to do,” she told LawyersAndSettlements.com.
In an recent investigative report by Oklahoma City’s KFOR, one lawyer representing some 400 women with transvaginal mesh injuries explained, “The problem with these meshes is they’re becoming very rigid and very sharp. It’s almost like taking a soft piece of fiberglass material and running a blow torch over it until it shrivels up, gets hard. It’s cutting through the vagina wall. It’s cutting into organs. It’s actually acting like a knife inside a woman’s body. The pain is just horrible.
“I have so many clients who tell me they can’t have sex anymore,” the lawyer told KFOR. “It’s impacting their marriages. I have one client, it’s caused a divorce. The husband said, ‘I love you but I don’t want 20 more years of not having sex.’”
In February, the first transvaginal mesh injury case to go to trial concluded in New Jersey Superior Court. The following month, the jury that heard the case awarded plaintiff Linda Gross, 47, $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages for multiple serious injuries she attributed to a Gynecare Prolift mesh device, which her surgeon implanted in 2006 to correct her case of pelvic organ prolapse.
Ethicon is a unit of Johnson & Johnson, which has since stopped making and marketing transvaginal mesh products.
A half dozen other manufacturers face thousands of personal-injury lawsuits brought by plaintiffs who are experiencing complications with transvaginal mesh implants.
Thousands of cases filed in federal courts have been consolidated for multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia under Judge Joseph Goodwin, who said he will begin hearing the first of the cases on December 3, 2013. The first case he will hear was brought by a plaintiff against American Medical Systems, Inc. over injuries she allegedly received from a female pelvic repair product made by the company.