A Johnson & Johnson and their subsidiary Ethicon have been order by a New Jersey jury to pay a South Dakota woman $3.35 million in a lawsuit over its vaginal mesh implant which is made by Ethicon. This is the first of many lawsuits over such implants. The product at the center of this lawsuit and three other Johnson & Johnson mesh products used to treat pelvic collapse were removed from the market in the United States last year
Linda Gross was implanted with Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh to treat her pelvic organ collapse. This condition occurs when the tissue that holds the pelvic organs in place weakens or stretches causing it to bulge. She was implanted with the vaginal mesh in 2006. After the mesh was implanted Gross suffered from mesh erosion, scar tissue, inflammation, and “neurologic compromise.” She blamed the mesh for the constant pain she felt that made it difficult to sit. Gross sought medical treatment to remove the mesh. After the mesh was removed she then required 18 surgeries to repair the damage done to her body. Despite the surgeries she was left with neurological damage and permanent scarring. Gross’ attorney had argued to jurors that Ethicon knew the mesh cause women pain and harm.
The trial, which took place in the New Jersey Superior Court in Atlantic City, lasted for six weeks and there were a week of jury deliberations. The jury returned with a verdict that said that Johnson & Johnson should pay Gross a total of $3.35 million in damages because they failed to adequately warn her doctor of the potential dangers of the vaginal mesh implant and for misrepresenting the product in its brochures. The award included $1.1 million for pain and suffering, $180,000 for lost wages, $500,000 for future lost wages, $385,000 for past medical treatment, $1 million for future medical treatment, and $180,000 for the loss of her husband’s companionship and conjugal affections.
Gross’ case was just the first of thousands of pending personal injury lawsuits across the country against several transvaginal manufacturers. This verdict could affect the thousands of similar lawsuits against the manufacturers of similar products.
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