Ethicon has been ordered to pay $35 million in compensation to a woman who claims to have suffered severe injuries due to the Prolift transvaginal mesh.
By Laurence Banville
An Indiana federal jury has awarded $35 million in damages to Barbara and Anton Kaiser, a couple who claim to have suffered numerous damages due to Ethicon's Prolift transvaginal mesh product, the Sunday Post, a Scottish newspaper, reports. In its opinion, the jury found Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, had been negligent in designing and marketing Prolift, a polypropylene patch used to treat pelvic organ prolapse.
Prolift Mesh Lawsuit Ends In $35M Jury VerdictNearly 14,000 women have filed transvaginal mesh lawsuits against Ethicon and parent company Johnson & Johnson. Like Barbara Kaiser, many of these patients were being treated for pelvic organ prolapse, a medical condition in which organs in the pelvis drop and apply pressure on the vagina.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a serious disorder, but Kaiser and her fellow plaintiffs say the "solution" cooked up by Ethicon and similar companies, transvaginal mesh, is just as bad.
Transvaginal Mesh Blamed For Severe Pelvic PainIn her lawsuit, Kaiser claims to have received a Prolift mesh implant in 2009, but soon began to suffer debilitating pelvic pain.
Along with her husband Anton, she filed suit against Ethicon in 2012, arguing that her mesh device had been designed in a defective manner and, further, that the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary had failed to warn the public and medical community about the implant's risks.
Surgeon Says No One Warned Of RisksAfter three years of pre-trial proceedings, Kaiser's case went to court on February 28, 2018.
At trial, the woman's surgeon testified that, when he'd used the implant in Kaiser, he'd been unaware of Prolift's safety risks. If he'd known, the surgeon said, he would certainly have considered using a different product.
Kaiser's attorneys presented evidence to support the assertion that Ethicon has "consistently underreported and withheld information about [...] Prolift's propensity to fail and cause injury and complications."
Jury Holds Ethicon LiableNine days later, a jury for the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana delivered its conclusion on the matter. Ethicon had placed an unsafe product into the stream of commerce, the jury decided, while failing to warn patients, including Barbara Kaiser, about the risks.
The jury ordered Ethicon to pay Kaiser $10 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages, but refrained from awarding her husband, Anton, any money.
"Ethicon defended an indefensible product," according to Thomas Plouff, the plaintiffs' attorney who represented the Kaiser family, "and the jury stood up for Barbara Kaiser."
J&J Plans To AppealIn a statement emailed to MassDevice.com, Johnson & Johnson spokesperson Mindy Tinsley said the company intends to appeal the jury's decision "as we believe it contradicts the evidence that the product was properly designed and that the company appropriately informed surgeons of pertinent complications."
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