An Australian woman has been awarded a $1 million verdict after she suffered an infection following hernia mesh surgery
Kylie Tinnock, a mother of three, underwent incisional hernia repair surgery on June 7, 2010, at Wagga Base Hospital. The primary surgeon, Dr. Justin Gundara, and specialist general surgeon, Dr. Michael Payne, used a hernia mesh device to assist in repair.
On June 15, 2010, a second surgery was required to drain a seroma that had formed. A vacuum dressing was used as a therapeutic technique to promote healing.
On June 27, 2010, Tinnock returned for a third procedure in which Dr. Payne closed the abdominal cavity from the vacuum dressing.
When Tinnock, 46, began developing an infection, she was admitted to the Calvary Hospital in Canberra on July 16, 2010, where the infection was found to be quite severe. Another surgery was necessary to remove the infection.
Dr. Trevor Currer, a consulting surgeon, advised the Murrumbidgee Local Health District during trial that three contributing factors to Tinnock’s infection were the fact that the patient smoked, was obese, and had a caesarean incision very low in the abdomen.
“Those three factors are massive,” Dr. Currer told the court.
However, those factors weren’t the only reasons for the infection, Dr. Currer pointed out. “Once there is a mesh in place, if you suspect infection, you consider the mesh is implicated.”
In total, Tinnock underwent five surgeries and various treatments following the initial surgery until September 2011, the Blue Mountain Gazette reports. She complained of constant pain and discomfort as well as major scarring. The difficulties severely impaired her daily life. For these reasons among many others, Tinnock sued the Murrumbidgee Local Health District for negligence and damages.
Judge Campbell had no problem ruling in Tinnock’s favor, saying, “She would have gone on to lead a normal unrestricted life and would not have required the multiplicity of operations that followed” had other methods been used.
Although it is unclear which brand hernia mesh was used in Tinnock’s surgery, pateints implanted with Physiomesh report similar problems. The five-layer design of Physiomesh, a product of Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon, is nonabsorbable with a primary polypropylene mesh at its center. Many patients who have experienced infection following Physiomesh hernia mesh repair surgery complain that the multiple layers discourage adequate fluid drainage, which they say leads to a buildup of infection-causing bacteria.