Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vaginal-mesh sufferer awarded $11.1 million

  • Print

A New Jersey jury on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay punitive damages of $7.76 million to a former nurse who blames its vaginal mesh implant for years of "living hell," despite unsuccessful repair surgeries.

The award adds to the $3.35 million in compensatory damages awarded by the state Superior Court jury on Monday, making a total of $11.1 million in damages.

It's the first verdict in about 4,000 lawsuits filed against the giant health-products maker based in New Brunswick, N.J.

Johnson & Johnson said the decision isn't supported by the evidence.

"We will vigorously pursue an appeal," Sheri Woodruff, a spokeswoman for the company's Ethicon surgical-products subsidiary, said in a statement.

Ethicon sold its Prolift brand of implants from 2005 until 2012, when it pulled them from the market amid mounting lawsuits.

At least one plaintiff has won a lawsuit against one of the other 30-plus makers of the once-popular implants, which are used to lift sagging pelvic organs back into place to relieve pain and other problems.

The plaintiff, Linda Gross, 47, of Watertown, S.D., testified during the seven-week trial she had undergone 18 revision surgeries -- all without success -- since having J&J's Prolift vaginal mesh device implanted in 2006. Severe pain and other complications forced the hospital hospice nurse to stop working.

"Linda Gross cannot turn back the clock and make her misery and pain disappear," her lead attorney, Adam Slater of the Mazie Slater firm in Roseland, N.J., said in a statement. "But she and countless victims like her can take some comfort in knowing that a jury... decided... that the corporation responsible for their suffering should be severely punished financially."

Introduced more than a decade ago, mesh implants, made of a porous synthetic or biologic material, were implanted in hundreds of thousands of women.

They are tied to ligaments or bone to serve as a sort of sling to lift and support the organ involved.

The devices were touted as a safer, easier alternative to hysterectomy or other surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse. The condition occurs when a pelvic organ -- the bladder, uterus, vagina, bowel or rectum -- droops as muscles supporting it weaken, usually due to childbirth. Aging, obesity and other factors can also trigger it.

The sagging organs can cause painful intercourse, lower backache, constipation and stress incontinence, or bladder leakage usually induced by coughing, sneezing, lifting heavy objects or exercising.

Mesh implants have helped many women. However, thousands of women who got them later complained of complications, including severe pain, infections and bleeding, and underwent followup surgeries to try to fix those problems.

Johnson & Johnson faces about 1,800 lawsuits filed in New Jersey, its home state, and about 2,200 filed in other courts.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2013 B5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Shots ring out as police say armed threat "resolved"

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What should the city do with the 102-year-old Arlington Street bridge?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google