A Pennsylvania judge has reduced the amount that Johnson & Johnson will have to pay out to a medical malpractice plaintiff who alleges that she will be in pain for the rest of their life because of the company’s transvaginal mesh implant.
Johnson & Johnson Faces Thousands Of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Regarding Transvaginal Mesh
In the United States, thousands of female patients are diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence each year. There are many different types of treatments for these conditions, including estrogen treatments, physical treatments, silicone implants, and various types of surgery. One of the common types of surgical treatment is the implantation of transvaginal mesh.
Transvaginal mesh is supposed to help stabilize the pelvic and bladder tissues. Due to the similarities to hernia mesh, the FDA allowed this mesh to be approved under the FDA 501k(k) which does not require any clinical testing, even though the mesh is inserted vaginally instead of through abdominal surgery.
Over the years doctors have reported numerous serious issues with the transvaginal mesh implants, including:
- Organ Perforation
- Erosion Through The Vaginal Wall
- Nerve Damage
- Vaginal Shrinkage
- Difficulty Urinating
- Pain When Walking, Sitting, Or Having Intercourse
In many instances, the patients had to undergo more than one revision surgery in order to remove the mesh and are forced to live with lifelong pain. This is why so many women have made the choice to take legal action against the manufacturing companies who make the mesh, alleging that they had a duty to provide patients with a safe product but failed to do the testing necessary to do so. The plaintiffs also allege that the manufacturers failed to warn patients about potential complications and injuries.
PA Judge Reduces Verdict Based On Plaintiff’s Location
In 2013, a New Jersey woman filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a Philadelphia court due to the fact that she had undergone surgery to implant the mesh in Philadelphia. The surgery took place on June 14th, 2007 to treat her stress urinary incontinence.
Within a month of her operation, the plaintiff began to experience severe vaginal pain and her incontinence returned. By September 2007, her doctor performed a second surgery to remove a portion of the mesh which was exposed in her vagina. Despite this, her vaginal pain continued and her incontinence worsened. She was referred to another surgeon who performed a third surgery to remove another section of the mesh but her symptoms only worsened and a fourth surgery was required to remove the remaining mesh.
She continues to experience incontinence, a feeling of urgency, chronic vaginal pain, and sexual dysfunction.
The case went to trial in 2017 and a jury awarded the plaintiff both compensatory and punitive damages for a total of $20 million.
Johnson & Johnson tried to appeal the decision by claiming that the plaintiff had not filed her lawsuit within the legal deadline. A state Superior Court disagreed with this claim, however, they did agree that the verdict should be cut because of the plaintiff’s residence. In New Jersey, the law states that any punitive damages cannot exceed five times a compensatory award. In this case, the compensatory damages that were awarded were $2.5 million and so the original $17.5 million punitive damages must be reduced to $12.5 million.
What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages are awarded when the court wants to send a message to a defendant that their actions or lack of action is unacceptable. Essentially, this is the court punishing the defendant. Punitive damages are not available in all cases.
Medical Malpractice: Do You Have A Case?
Although many medical malpractice cases do involve defective products such as transvaginal mesh, this isn’t the only type of medical malpractice that can result in a lawsuit. Medical malpractice lawsuits often involve:
- Surgical Error
- Medication Error
- Birth Injury
- Anesthesia Error
It’s not always clear when a medical mistake is made. If you suspect that a medical professional has made a mistake that caused you serious harm, it’s important to have an experienced medical malpractice attorney review your case. The attorneys at Schuster Law have helped thousands of clients fight against medical negligence and offer free consultations. Call now to learn more about your legal rights.