Transvaginal surgical mesh patient awarded $1.2 million in lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon

by Eric Pearson

A jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $1.2 million to a woman who alleged injuries as a result of a defectively designed transvaginal surgical mesh implant made by the company. The jurors in state court in Dallas concluded the design of the TVT-O mesh sling implanted in Linda Batiste was defective and caused her to suffer pelvic pain when the device eroded inside her. Batiste was awarded $1.2 million in compensatory damages.

Background of transvaginal mesh litigation

Transvaginal mesh products are a type of synthetic surgical mesh device that is used to treat women with stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Surgeons thread the mesh devices through incisions in the vagina to fortify pelvic muscles that failed to support internal organs or to treat incontinence. More than 70,000 mesh devices were surgically implanted in the U.S. in 2010 alone.

Although procedures using transvaginal mesh were designed to replace traditional surgical repair of these conditions, experts have found that surgery with mesh carries additional risks of complications while offering no additional benefits to the patient. Concerns about the safety of transvaginal mesh first arose at least as early as October 2008, when the FDA issued a warning about the risk of complications for patients who receive surgical mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The FDA later issued a second warning stating that the complications from mesh products were far more common than had been previously thought.

Women who have undergone surgery with mesh have experienced serious complications, including severe pain, infection, bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), organ perforation, urinary problems, and vaginal mesh erosion. Thousands of transvaginal surgical mesh lawsuits have been filed involving more than 50 different brands of implants. Manufacturers involved in mesh lawsuits include Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard, Gynecare, and American Medical Systems.

Verdicts against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon

The 64-year-old Batiste is a former nurse. She was implanted with an Ethicon TVT-O mesh sling, is used to treat stress urinary incontinence. Ethicon is a women’s health and urology division of Johnson & Johnson.

The TVT-O contains a mesh made of polypropylene that is intended to be permanently implanted through the vagina. Batiste alleged that the mesh eroded and caused infection, nerve damage and chronic pain. She also alleged that the mesh is difficult if not impossible to completely remove since it is intended to be a permanent implant. Batiste alleged that she suffered severe pelvic pain after the mesh implant eroded inside her. The Texas jury voted 8-2 to find that the mesh was defectively designed and responsible for Batiste’s damages.

Johnson & Johnson pulled some lines of vaginal-mesh implants off the market in 2012 after a wave of lawsuits were filed over the devices. The TVT-O sling that was involved in the Batiste trial is reportedly still on the market.

The verdict in the Batiste case is the second verdict against Johnson & Johnson for one of its mesh products. On February 22, 2013, a New Jersey jury found that Ethicon failed to provide adequate warnings to Linda Gross’s physician concerning a Prolift mesh implant. The jury awarded Gross $3.35 million in compensatory damages and $7.76 million in punitive damages.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson and Surgical Mesh Cases

If you or a loved one were injured by a surgical mesh product, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive a settlement from the company that manufactured the device. The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have represented hundreds of individuals who have been injured by dangerous medical devices like surgical mesh. Our law firm has won hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, and will work to ensure that you receive the compensation for your injuries that you are entitled to under the law.

To receive a free legal consultation about your case, contact the attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the brief case evaluation form located at the top of this page.

by Eric Pearson

Eric Pearson is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P who handles commercial and personal injury lawsuits. Eric has been selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication.