Vaginal mesh implants, used in thousands of women for the treatment and prevention of pelvic
organ prolapse and urinary incontinence, have been associated with countless
complications. Johnson & Johnson, whose Ethicon unit produced the
surgical mesh products, is facing litigation from many women who were
harmed by the products.
The discovery in the lawsuits has been consolidated in what is known as
Multi District Litigation. Each woman has a unique set of circumstances,
but discovery of the liability issues is consolidated to serve an economy
of judicial time and costs to all parties. The damages for each individual
are distinct and must be evaluated on an individual basis.
Recently, a federal judge said Ethicon acted negligently in losing or destroying
thousands of documents related to the cases, potentially impacting the
outcome of its trial.
Were documents "lost" or were they destroyed?
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert did not make the determination on what
happened to the missing files and documents, but said Ethicon acted negligently
in its management of them.
For its part, Ethicon admits the documents and files are gone, leaving
gaps in the data as far back as 2007. It says the files were lost with
employee turnover and mismanagement of the file-management system, according to
Bloomberg News. But Ethicon also says many of the documents were available elsewhere.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs want the trial judge to allow jurors to hear
about the missing files, though lawyers for Ethicon only support this
if the plaintiffs can show the destruction of files puts them at a disadvantage.
In other words, the defendants want the women to prove that the destruction
of the evidence hurt them in some manner-not necessarily an easy feat
without clear knowledge of what was contained in the missing files.
Transvaginal mesh products dangerous and harmful
Varieties of vaginal mesh implants were introduced in 2005, approved through
a controversial process known as the FDA's 501(k) clause, which essentially
speeds up the approval process and results in less safety testing before
a medical device hits the market. Many believe it's this approval
process that is to blame for allowing the dangerous products on the market
in the first place.
Thousands of women suffered ill effects from these implants including severe
pain, nerve damage, scarring, infection, bleeding, vaginal shrinkage,
painful intercourse, emotional problems, organ damage, and neuro-muscular
problems. For many, follow-up surgeries to fix and remove the implants
made the recovery from their failed use even longer and more difficult.
Still, Johnson & Johnson didn't take their products off the market
Victims of the defective vaginal mesh implants have a right to seek justice
following their ordeals. But the admission now that the defense "lost"
documents and files related to the case only adds insult to injury.
Pharmaceutical companies and those large corporations who manufacture medical
devices are not in the business to help people-they are in the business
of making money. And sometimes this means sending a product onto the market
before it's gone through rigorous testing. Sometimes this means releasing
a product when they already know it will hurt people.
As complications from trans-vaginal implants began coming to light, it
was realized that companies like Johnson & Johnson were aware of their
risks long before the women who suffered the consequences. In other words,
they exposed the victims to unnecessary pain and suffering to reap a profit.
dangerous prescription drugs, trans-vaginal mesh implants are the result of an overzealous industry
more focused on the almighty dollar than patient safety and well-being.
Victims of this industry must hold the large corporations accountable
for their negligence if we hope to rein in this dangerous practice.