Jurors Award Millions to Patient in first Vaginal-Mesh Lawsuit
Just this week a jury in California handed down a multimillion-dollar verdict against C.R. Bard Inc. and a doctor over a vaginal-mesh implant that left a woman permanently injured. The case, initiated by Christine Scott, was the first vaginal-mesh case to go to trial and indicated good news for other patients who have been left injured by the devices.
After deliberating, jurors awarded Scott $5.5 million for being left incontinent and suffering from chronic pain. Scott got the implant in 2008 and then went on to have nine surgical procedures to deal with problems the device caused. In her case the damage was caused by Bard’s Avaulta Plus vaginal implant which is used to treat pelvic organs that bulge, or prolapse.
The company was found to be negligent given its handling of the devices, with jurors saying the company either knew or should have known that surgeons performing pelvic-floor repair would not realize the potential risks posed by the implant. The jury ultimately placed 60% of the fault on Bard and the remaining 40% on the doctor who implanted the device.
Problems first came to light in August 2011 when a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report stated that vaginal-mesh products should be classified as posing high risk to patients based on a review of side-effect reports from January 2008 to December 2010. In January 2012, the FDA ordered all manufacturers of the devices to begin studying rates of organ damage associated with use of the vaginal-mesh implants. The companies are under orders to conduct three years of safety studies to determine if the devices erode and shrink over time, potentially causing pain and injury to patients.
The case was an important bellwether as it was the first to go trial among the hundreds of separate suits currently in the works against companies such Bard, Boston Scientific Corporation and others. Johnson & Johnson also recently announced it would stop selling four lines of vaginal mesh devices.
The fight against the makers of these dangerous products is far from over as attorneys for Bard have already announced that they would appeal. Officials from the company said they were “disappointed” over the jury’s decision and claimed that the complications that arose in this case were not the fault of the company. The company’s statement went further, saying that their device is safe and effective and provides “significant benefits to patients.”
If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “Bard, Doctor Ordered to Pay $5.5 Million Over Implant,” by Jef Feeley, published at Businessweek.com.