Philadelphia’s mass tort program, trying nearly 180 cases against Johnson and Johnson unit Ethicon Inc. over alleged injuries caused by the unit’s transvaginal mesh, is moving right along. In December a verdict was reached in the first case to go before a jury, finding the company responsible for both negligence in design of the Prolift pelvic mesh product as well as for having failed to adequately warn doctors of the products risks. The plaintiff was awarded $5.5 million in compensation and $7 million in punitive damages. This week a second trial against Ethicon got underway.
According to her attorney, Plaintiff Sharon Carlino received Ethicon’s transvaginal tape or TVT implant in 2005 to treat stress urinary incontinence, which is unintentional loss of small amounts of urine during physical activity like sneezing, coughing or heavy lifting.
In the subsequent three years, she twice experienced discomfort caused by the mesh having become exposed, which required surgical procedures to remove the exposed portion of mesh. By 2012, Carlino alleges to have been experiencing pain due to scarring from both the mesh and the surgeries she endured to remove the exposed mesh.
“When there is this vaginal scarring, the vagina simply can’t expand as it should,” the plaintiff’s attorney said. “This causes patients like Mrs. Carlino pain, including pain during intercourse. The defendants knew that this plastic mesh could erode through the wall of the vagina, requiring surgery to remove the eroded portion of the mesh, and that surgery to deal with erosions will cause further scarring, which in turn leads to more pain and permanent pain.”
As in the case against Ethicon’s Prolift pelvic mesh product, Carolino is pursuing claims of defective design and inadequate warnings. According to Law360, her attorney told the jury that the Ethicon Inc. transvaginal mesh left Mrs. Carlino living with constant pain and discomfort.
“These problems have now gotten progressively worse. They interfere with her daily life and with her very personal relationship with her husband, and unfortunately the mesh cannot be safely removed,” the attorney told Law360.