April 4, 2014 — Bloomberg Businessweek reports that a jury in Dallas, Texas has awarded a woman $1.2 million in compensatory damages for a vaginal mesh lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary.
The 64 year-old plaintiff, Linda Batiste, was implanted with the TVT-O to treat stress urinary incontinence. The product is still on the market. Last year, a jury in New Jersey ordered J&J to pay $11.1 million to a woman who was injured by the Prolift, a product that was taken off the market.
Batiste accused J&J of failing to provide proper warnings about health risks of the TVT-O. The jury agreed that the TVT-O was defectively designed. However, they declined to award punitive damages after finding that J&J provided adequate warnings.
In a statement, Ethicon communications director Matthew Johnson said, “The jury’s verdict on design defect is disappointing, and we believe we have strong grounds for appeal.”
J&J is currently facing more than 12,000 lawsuits alleging that the TVT-O and other vaginal mesh implants are defective. The FDA has ordered 31 manufacturers, including J&J, to study the safety of vaginal mesh. Most products are implanted through incisions in the vagina and anchored to both sides of the pelvis, creating a “sling” that supports abdominal organs.
Unfortunately, the FDA has warned that serious complications are “not rare.” The most common and consistently-reported complication is erosion of the mesh through the vaginal wall. This can cause infection, chronic pain, inability to have sexual intercourse, scarring, and require additional surgery. Even with surgery, vaginal mesh may be impossible to remove from the body, leading to lifelong complications.
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