Tom Plouff has over a decade of experiencing representing clients who have suffered harm from transvaginal mesh, including a $35 million jury award against transvaginal mesh manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Plouff has taken to trial or settled various other cases representing millions of dollars of damages paid to those injured by mesh.
So what is Transvaginal Mesh and How Was It Used?
To date, over 100,000 lawsuits have alleged that transvaginal mesh causes complications including severe and chronic pain, infections, reduced mobility, sexual difficulties, autoimmune issues, and psychological strain.
For many patients, the significant risks that polypropylene mesh pose in the long term outweigh any benefits they may receive. The significant risks that polypropylene mesh pose in the long term outweigh any benefits they may receive, and even the FDA agrees.
Synthetic, surgical mesh is made of a medical grade plastic, known as polypropylene and is most commonly used in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). POP is nothing to be ashamed of – in fact – 50% of women will have some degree of prolapse over their lifetime, with about 12% needing surgery. Women who require treatment because of POP will have the mesh inserted to reinforce a weak vaginal wall, either done through the abdomen (transabdominal) or the vagina (transvaginal).
Did you know that 11% of women in the United States will require surgical intervention for either pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI) by the age of 80?
Many of these women have had their POP or SUI treated by the implantation of synthetic mesh. And if you or someone you know is experiencing complications following mesh implantation, you are not alone.
The most common side effects from synthetic mesh range from dyspareunia (pain during intercourse), erosion or extrusion of mesh, chronic pelvic pain, and fistula formation.
Transvaginal Mesh: The Risks Outweigh the Benefits
For many patients, the significant risks that polypropylene mesh pose in the long term outweigh any benefits they may receive, and even the FDA agrees.
Not only does the FDA agree that the benefits do not outweigh the risks of surgical mesh placed transvaginally to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP), they also ordered mesh manufactures to stop selling devices for transvaginal repair of POP in 2019. Mesh complications severe and chronic pain, infections, reduced mobility, sexual difficulties, autoimmune issues, and psychological strain. Many patients will require a follow-up or corrective surgery, which can lead to a host of complications in itself.
One of the most common- and often most painful- complications following polypropylene mesh implantation is erosion. Erosion happens when the mesh begins to break down or wear away over time. The mesh then may become exposed or can protrude through the vagina- or even into other organs such as the urethra, bladder, or rectum. More than half of women who experience erosion with polypropylene mesh need corrective surgery.
Even in the hands of experienced surgeons, complications can occur. The drug manufacturers marketing materials suggest these complications occur mostly because of faulty surgical technique performed by inexperienced or poorly train surgeons, by over-tensioning, or by misplacement.
However, it is well-documented in reputable medical literature that faulty design and the material characteristics of the mesh are major causes of complications.
How Does the Mesh Lawsuit Process Work?
A mesh lawsuit begins when the injured party files a complaint. The complaint itself will allege which parties are responsible for the injuries which can include the mesh manufacturer and the implanting surgeon. The lawsuit process is not quick, with cases in average taking two to three years from the filing of the complaint to the ultimate resolution of either a settlement or a jury trial.
These transvaginal mesh cases are complex and typically involve expert witnesses. Expert witnesses testify in these legal proceedings because of their highly specialized knowledge and skill in certain areas. The experts can include urogynecologists, pathologists, polymer and regulatory experts. Their testimony helps fill in the gaps for the judge and jury to understand the highly technical, medical complexities that come with transvaginal mesh.
One of the reasons these cases also take so long is the uphill battle that comes with challenging major medical companies. Armed with teams of attorneys and seemingly unlimited resources, it is likely the medical companies will fight tooth and nail to exclude expert witnesses, keep certain facts out of the case (such as that the mesh was technically cleared and not approved by the FDA, and even try to blame the injuries and complications on the women herself.
Be assured that our team is highly prepared to face each of these challenges head on, as a testament to the amount of cases we have handled in favor of the plaintiffs.
Historically, many of the transvaginal cases were a part of federal multi district litigation (MDL) overseen by Judge Goodwin from West Virginia. Once Judge Goodwin stopped taking cases, then parties began filing so-called “one-off” cases, meaning that individual woman filed their cases outside of the MDL.
There are a couple of considerations given the number of years that have gone by since many women were implanted with transvaginal mesh. One consideration is if the state where the lawsuit is filed (often either the state where the mesh was implanted or explanted) has a statute of repose. This statute can bar a product liability action from being filed after a certain number of years.
However, in Illinois, even though the statute of repose might bar a product liability action based on strict liability but one will be allowed for negligence. The statute of limitations also must be complied with. In many states this statute will bar an action two years after the mesh is implanted but some states, like Illinois and Indiana, have a “discovery” rule. So for example in Illinois, once the complication with the mesh is learned about, for example a doctor diagnosing a mesh erosion, then typically the two year statute in Illinois will begin once the woman learns her pelvic pain, for example, is from the mesh erosion.
Tom Plouff is your Chicago Transvaginal Mesh Attorney
If you or someone you know how has been injured by polypropylene mesh products, there are several types of recovery available. Juries have awarded, and courts have upheld, in certain individual women’s cases, millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages, some in the range of millions of dollars.
Other damages include recovery for pain and suffering, loss of consortium. With transvaginal mesh legal cases, the patient never pays for legal services. Learn more about Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits.