Hernia Mesh TV Commercial: Lawsuits Filed Over Side Effects

Hernia Mesh TV Commercial: Lawsuits Filed Over Side Effects2017-10-09T14:09:09+00:00

Over 250 product liability lawsuits say popular hernia mesh products are defective and dangerous:

  • Physiomesh – 100 lawsuits
  • Atrium C-Qur – 150 lawsuits

Patients report severe complications, from chronic pain and infection to adhesion and fistula. Many of these side effects are medical emergencies, requiring invasive corrective procedures.

Medical bills alone can run into the tens of thousands – to say nothing of months out of work and substantial emotional suffering.

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Several law firms have begun to produce television commercials notifying hernia patients of a growing litigation around several hernia mesh patch products. Most of these ads, which usually run on local broadcasts, mention two meshes in particular:

  • Physiomesh –  manufactured by Johnson & Johnson-subsidiary Ethicon
  • C-Qur – a line of patches made New Hampshire-based medical device company Atrium

Alongside Physiomesh and C-Qur, a third mesh manufacturer, C.R. Bard, may also be mentioned. All of these mesh products have been associated with high rates of infection, hernia recurrence, revision surgery and other serious side effects.

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TV Ads Inform Hernia Patients Of Growing Litigation

While most commercials don’t offer many details, the majority inform viewers that hundreds of lawsuits have now been filed against these three mesh companies. That’s true.

Over 100 lawsuits consolidated in a Georgia federal court accuse Ethicon of selling and marketing Physiomesh, despite alleged knowledge that the product could cause severe personal injuries. Almost 150 lawsuits, which make similar allegations against Atrium, have been filed in New Hampshire.

Is Something Wrong With Hernia Mesh?

Mesh products have been around for decades. The first synthetic patch used to repair a hernia was introduced in the 1940s. But more recent innovations in this technology have raised serious concerns, both from patients and medical experts. As plaintiffs allege in their product liability lawsuits, a dangerous combination of inappropriate materials and ill-considered design are putting hernia patients at risk.

Over the last two decades, a large body of medical research has demonstrated the significant dangers of some hernia patches. Side effect reports submitted to the US Food & Drug Administration tell a similar story, describing:

  • chronic pain
  • life-threatening infections
  • adhesion – the growth of scar tissue that “binds” a mesh patch to vital internal organs
  • intestinal obstruction
  • perforation of internal organs
  • internal bleeding
  • fistula – an abnormal passageway created between organs
  • seroma –  fluid build-up

Many of these complications, if they occurred only in a small number of patients, would probably be considered acceptable. Adhesion, for example, can be a normal aspect of the healing process, but like all bodily processes, it can quickly get out of control. Excessive adhesion increases the risk for fistula and other forms of organ perforation, complications that often constitute medical emergencies. The real problem, however, is that certain mesh patches appear to cause these complications far more often than other models.

Why Physiomesh Is No Longer On The Market

Ethicon’s Physiomesh is a perfect example. The Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh received FDA approval in 2010 and quickly took the world of hernia repair by storm. Ethicon, the company said in advertising materials, had hit on an innovative new design, coating a basic polypropylene mesh structure in four layers of synthetic polymer.

Doctors were told that Physiomesh would be absorbed readily by a patient’s existing body tissues and lower the risk of dangerous adhesions. In reality, the product appears to have done the exact opposite. Side effect reports were so common that Ethicon voluntarily withdrew Physiomesh from the market, telling surgeons in May of 2016 to stop using it.

Why? Two studies, conducted at the manufacturer’s behest, had found that patients implanted with Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh, experienced hernia recurrence and re-operation at alarmingly high rates. Comparable mesh products were (and still are) far safer. Instead of promoting patient health, Ethicon’s mesh allowed hernias to re-open, causing severe pain and forcing patients to undergo additional invasive procedures.

While Ethicon has yet to explain the problem, product liability attorneys believe that Physiomesh is defective in design. The patch’s multiple layers of coating, lawsuits claim, degrade within the body at different rates, ultimately leading to total device failure and severe complications. Moreover, the product’s “anti-adhesion barrier,” designed to reduce the risk of scar tissue growth, prevents the mesh from integrating into existing body tissues.

Current Status Of Hernia Mesh Litigation

Today, over 100 product liability lawsuits make these same arguments, accusing Ethicon of failing to warn the public and medical community. The Physiomesh claims have been “consolidated” in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, a federal court in Atlanta. As a Multi-District Litigation (MDL), the lawsuits will move through most steps of the legal process together, with a committee of attorneys handling shared issues and individual lawyers taking care of the aspects unique to each plaintiff’s case.

A similar process is underway in the US District Court of New Hampshire, where nearly 150 C-Qur lawsuits charge Atrium with manufacturing a defective line of hernia mesh patches.

How Multi-District Litigation Works

This process of coordination will allow defendants to engage in settlement negotiations more effectively, while streamlining the litigation for current and future plaintiffs. Once the cases have been fully-developed, the federal judge presiding over an MDL usually (but not always) selects several cases to serve as “bellwether” trials.

These lawsuits will go to court first and be heard by a jury. The jury will come to its conclusion and both sides of the dispute, defendant and plaintiffs, will understand a little better how their own arguments and evidence worked in a real setting. These preliminary judgments will, in turn, inform on-going settlement negotiations, affording plaintiffs more leverage or convincing the defendant to defend against each case at trial.

Can Mesh Lawsuits Still Be Filed?

Yes.

The creation of a Multi-District Litigation in no way restricts the rights of patients who have yet to file lawsuits. In fact, the process often makes it easier for new plaintiffs to start their claims, as standardized documents are created to make things more efficient. And there is, of course, a power in banding together, as numerous people who were hurt in the same way pool their resources.

It should be noted, however, that MDL is not class action. While you may see some commercials refer to a “hernia mesh class action,” our attorneys believe that class action is not an appropriate avenue for patients who have suffered mesh injuries.

Why This Isn’t A Class Action

Class action is generally reserved for groups of plaintiffs who have incurred financial losses in exactly the same way – thousands of consumers who have all signed the same unfair contract, for example. Where severe personal injuries are concerned, individual lawsuits are a far better choice. Every plaintiff will have suffered a unique combination of side effects, racking up a unique set of medical bills and causing emotional trauma that is necessarily unique to each individual. With this understanding, we believe that handling each case on an individual basis is best for our client’s interests.

How Can I Learn More?

Did you or a loved one suffer complications after undergoing a hernia repair procedure? Our experienced attorneys want to help. Eligible patients may be able to pursue significant financial compensation. To learn more about case eligibility, contact our lawyers today for a free consultation.

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