A Georgia woman has filed a lawsuit against the makers of her husband’s Physiomesh, blaming the hernia mesh device for his death.
Kathy Edwards, the widow of William Stanley Edwards, is suing Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon, over its hernia mesh repair device that allegedly led to her husband’s death.
On June 26, 2015, Mr. Edwards underwent surgery to repair an incarcerated ventral hernia at Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick Campus in Brunswick, Georgia. Physiomesh was used to bridge the hernia in an attempt to repair it.
On July 9, 2015, Mr. Edwards returned to the hospital complaining of severe abdominal pain and excessive fluid buildup in his feet and lower legs. It was only the beginning of a string of complications that would torture him until his last day.
In the months that followed, Mr. Edwards underwent an additional ventral hernia repair surgery with suspected incarcerated small bowel, and was later readmitted with a hematoma and infection. Soon after, he was readmitted with abdominal wall cellulitis requiring surgery to remove the dead and infected tissue. The doctors determined Physiomesh led to the infection after finding that it had not incorporated to his tissues. Mr. Edwards later returned to have his Physiomesh removed. A wound vac was required to prevent the infection from worsening.
At that point, Mr. Edwards required Home Health care to assist with his condition. Just days later, however, Home Health called the surgeon’s office and reported that feces were hanging out of his wound. He was hospitalized once again for treatment of the wound, and continuous treatment and care was required afterward.
Despite the constant attention and care, the abdominal wound never healed. According to the lawsuit, “On April 18, 2016, the Decedent William Stanley Edwards was examined in Brunswick, where it was noted that the wound in the abdomen was unimproved with the bowel hanging out in a closed windowed area and margins still wide apart and fistula open with basically whole fecal stream moving through.”
A month later, Mr. Edwards was considered in serious condition and was moved to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, where he would endure multiple hospitalizations due to his grave condition over the next eight months. He died on Jan. 31, 2017, due to septic shock, respiratory failure, and acute renal failure.
The lawsuit states that Physiomesh’s unique five-layer design contributes to complications in wound healing, inflammation, foreign body response. The multi-layer coating also prevents the mesh from incorporating properly into the body, according to the complaint.
“When affixed to the body’s tissue,” the lawsuit says, “the impermeable multi-layer coating of the Physiomesh prevents fluid escape, which leads to seroma formation, and which in turn can cause infection, abscess formation and other complications.”
The suit also alleges that the multi-layer coating may provide a breeding ground for bacteria that cannot be flushed out naturally.