The lawsuits involving hernia mesh products claim the medical devices are failing at a rate higher than expected. These failures are causing additional surgeries, infections, bowel obstruction, organ damage, scar tissue, chronic pain, and severe allergic reactions. As of July 2018, more than 50,000 hernia mesh lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts.
Our law firm is accepting clients who suffered injuries as a result of a hernia mesh. We have been handling lawsuits against medical device manufacturers since 1955. Each year we teach 1,500 attorneys how to successfully handle these cases. We are listed in Best Lawyers in America and The National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.
Why Are Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Being Filed?
Plaintiff attorneys argue that several of the hernia mesh products have been defectively designed and are causing unnecessary repairs and injuries that would not have occurred if a substitute mesh product or sutures had been utilized.
The Key Legal Issue
Hernia mesh devices are moving and shrinking in a patient's body, causing bowel tears, organ damage, and obstructions.
Court documents show the manufacturers of hernia mesh devices have been marketing and promoting the products for unnecessary use, such as the repair of smaller hernias that can be treated through laparoscopic surgery and stitches.
Hernia Mesh Injuries & Side Effects
The use of a mesh product can be beneficial in the repair of certain hernias, and often results in a faster and long-term recovery compared to other techniques. No current treatment for a hernia is without potential problems.
Whether a mesh product or sutures is used to fix a hernia, the most common side effects experienced by patients include recurrence of the hernia, pain, infection, intestinal obstruction, adhesions, and allergic reactions. The pain from a hernia surgery should last only a few days to a week for laparoscopic repairs to a few weeks for hernia mesh repairs.
Hernias often recur after being surgically repaired. However, if a hernia is fixed with sutures, rather than a mesh product, there generally are less complications.
Hernia Mesh vs. Stitches
One of the big differences between using a mesh product and using sutures is that a mesh can move or shrink, and then cause bowel perforations, organ damage, obstructions, and additional surgeries. This especially is true if the mesh product is faulty or contains a polypropylene coating. If a perforation occurs, this can result in a serious infection known as sepsis.
If you have received a hernia mesh, some of the symptoms to watch for include constipation, fatigue, fever, irritable bowel, severe pain, and urinary issues. If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately report them to your treating physician. Unfortunately, hernia mesh complications can occur within days to years after the hernia mesh is implanted.
It's important for your healthcare provider to keep the hernia mesh and tissue after removing it from your body. This is an important piece of evidence in your case. Your healthcare provider can find out how to do this by contacting our office and asking for attorney Kim Adams.
Compensation in a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit
If you have sustained injuries because of a hernia mesh, we will be seeking the following damages for you:
- Past and future medical expenses that result from any injuries caused by the hernia mesh, such as the costs of the revision surgery; treatment of infections, perforations, and obstructions; and care for chronic pain.
- Past and future pain and suffering caused by the injuries, and the treatment and recovery process.
- Past and future wage loss, if any.
- Past and future loss of capacity to earn money.
- Punitive damages, if appropriate.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
As of this time, there have been no large mass tort settlements involving failures or injuries caused by the Physiomesh, C-QUR, or Ventralex mesh products. Generally, however, large groups of settlements do not occur until such time as a few lawsuits are tried before a jury, and the manufacturer is able to more thoroughly understand its financial risk.
In 2011, C.R. Bard settled 3,000 cases over its Kugel Mesh for $184 million. That device had been recalled by the FDA in 2005, 2006 and 2007. However, lawsuits against Bard and subsidiary DaVol continued to be filed for several years. In June 2017, a federal judge in West Virginia dismissed several of the cases, ruling that all claims against Bard had been settled for an undisclosed amount.
Similar to the hernia mesh lawsuits, many thousands of claims were filed against companies who manufactured a vaginal mesh medical device. This product was intended to treat women who were experiencing incontinence. Over time, the device began to erode inside the patient’s body, causing chronic pain, organ damage, and repeat surgeries. More than 100,000 lawsuits were filed against the transvaginal mesh manufacturers, resulting in $3 billion in settlements.
Attorneys Mike Papantonio and Robert Price Discuss the Hernia Mesh Implant Lawsuits
Hernia Mesh Recalls
From 2005-2007, C.R. Bard issued several recalls involving its Kugel Mesh product as a result of a problem associated with potential bowel tears.
In 2012, the FDA sent Atrium a warning over its failure to respond and address numerous complaints of infections due to the C-QUR. In 2015, a federal judge issued an injunction, prohibiting Atrium from manufacturing and distributing the product.
In May 2016, Ethicon voluntarily withdrew the Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh after studies determined the medical device was more likely to result in a failed hernia repair when compared to other similar products.
Ethicon mailed an urgent field safety notice to hospitals and doctors telling them to immediately return any unused products, and to stop using the product. Ethicon admitted that the design of its hernia mesh was one of the causes of the failures. At the time Ethicon issued the warning, the FDA had received approximately ten reports of fatalities associated with the Ethicon Physiomesh.
Why is a Hernia Mesh Utilized?
Each year approximately one million hernia surgeries are performed in the United States. As part of the repair, one of the devices often used is a hernia mesh, which can be made from synthetic material or animal tissue. This product is meant to reinforce the area where the hernia is protruding in order to prevent reoccurring hernias.
Hernias are caused by abdominal pressure and an opening or weakness in a muscle or connective tissue. The abdominal pressure can force an organ (such as the bowel, bladder or intestine) or fatty tissue to move through the opening or weak area.
The abdominal pressure can result from various activities, such as lifting heavy objects, diarrhea, constipation, chronic coughing and pregnancy. Obesity makes the occurrence more likely. Muscle weakness can result from poor nutrition, smoking, overexertion, or a prior surgery.
Symptoms of a hernia include abdominal pain, bulging of the skin, nausea, and vomiting.
If a hernia is not causing symptoms or complications, doctors generally will monitor it to see if it improves. Surgery is the only option for a permanent fix. If surgery is performed, a hernia mesh device often is utilized as part of the repair process.
There are several types of hernias: ventral (abdominal wall), inguinal (inner groin), femoral (upper thigh or outer groin), hiatal (upper stomach), incisional (from a surgical cut), and umbilical (navel).
The incisional hernia occurs when there is a tear in the muscles of the abdominal wall, such as the site where a cut was made during a previous operation, for example a C-section.
Hernia surgeries can be performed through open repair or laparoscopically. With open repair, the surgeon makes a large incision close to the hernia. With laparoscopic, the incisions are minimal in size.
Hernia mesh products can be made of absorbable or non-absorbable material. If absorbable, the mesh is meant to breakdown over time, after natural tissue has formed to prevent the hernia from recurring. If non-absorbable material is used, the mesh is intended to remain in the body permanently.
A key concern with hernias is strangulation. This is where the blood supply to an organ is being blocked because the organ is pushing through the abdominal wall or tissue.
Manufacturers of hernia mesh products include: (i) Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, which produces the Physiomesh, Proceed, and Prolene; (ii) Atrium Medical Corporation, a division of MAQUET Medical Systems, which produces the C-QUR; (iii) C.R. Bard (Davol), which produces the Composix, Ventralex, Kugel Patch, PerFix, and Sepramesh; and (iv) Covidien (Medtronic), which produces the Parietex.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuit News
A Secret for Patients Undergoing Hernia Repair
Serious complications can occur if the surgical mesh or other devices break or become twisted or dislodged; a commonly used mesh product was recalled in 2006 by its manufacturer because of the potential for breakage inside patients, and a number of class-action suits have been brought by patients who experienced complications like bowel perforation and infection. Reported in Wall Street Journal - Hernia Repair Secrets
Your Patient Wants A Mesh-Free Repair: What Do You Do?
At least one report has found that 25% of patients who underwent a laparoscopic hernia mesh repair suffered from chronic pain two years post-surgery. The assumption has been that pain is being caused by nerve entrapment by an improperly placed mesh. “But there is now evidence to suggest the nerve is growing into the mesh, and the mesh erodes into the nerve,” Dr. Hari Kumar Ondiveeran said. Pain also can be caused by the mesh folding into a ball. Reported in General Surgery News - Mesh-Free Repairs
J&J’s Ethicon recalls Physiomesh flexible composite hernia mesh
Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon recalled one of its surgical mesh products after studies showed higher revision rates after a type of minimally invasive hernia repair using its Physiomesh flexible composite mesh. Reported in MassDevice - Physiomech Recall
Growing concerns in Canada over surgical mesh usage, recalls
Dr. John Morrison, president of the Canadian Hernia Society, warns that hernia mesh devices may be used too often given the growing questions of the harm being done to some patients. In some cases, he said, a mesh may not be required. Reported in CTV News - Hernia Repairs in Canada
Canadian patients join class-action lawsuit over recalled hernia mesh
Some Canadian hernia surgery patients have launched a class-action lawsuit against the maker of a now-recalled surgical mesh, claiming they weren't warned of its dangers. Patients are speaking out about a surgical device called Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh, which was recalled over concerns about higher rates of complications. Reported in CTV News - Hernia Mesh Canadian Class Actions