Hernia is a common medical condition that can be effectively treated in some cases with surgical mesh, also known as hernia mesh.
However, some patients with pending personal injury lawsuits across America allege that some types of surgical hernia mesh have defects and have caused them serious injury. Some patients have had to have major additional surgeries and treatments to fix the problems with hernia mesh implants.
If you have been treated with hernia mesh and are suffering complications, you could be entitled to compensation in a hernia mesh lawsuit. This article contains information you need to know about hernia mesh, side effects, medical complications and how to file a lawsuit. Please speak to one of our attorneys about filing a hernia mesh lawsuit today.
What Is a Hernia?
A hernia is a common medical condition where an internal organ or other part of the body protrudes through the muscle wall or tissue that normally contains it. Hernias can happen in various parts of the body and may be described as hiatal, inguinal, umbilical, incisional or femoral. (FDA.gov)
Hernias are caused by pressure in the abdomen. This pressure can cause an organ or tissue to move into and through the weak area or opening. The pressure can occur from many activities such as lifting a heavy object, constipation, diarrhea, chronic coughing or pregnancy. Obesity can make a hernia more likely. Also, weakness in the abdominal muscles can be due to poor eating habits, overexertion, smoking, or another surgery.
Hernias tend to recur. That is why surgeons may turn to surgical mesh to make the repair stronger and reduce recurrence.
Hernia Mesh Overview
Surgical mesh may be used to repair a hernia. Approximately 1 million hernia surgeries are done in the US each year. The medical device comes in several forms, including patches, sheets and plugs. Hernia mesh offers added support to tissue that has been weakened or damaged by age, accident, surgery, etc.
Hernia mesh is usually made from synthetic materials that may be absorbable or not absorbable by the body. If your healthcare provider uses non-absorbable mesh, it is known as a permanent implant that provides reinforcement to the herniated area. If absorbable mesh is used, it will degrade over weeks and months and is not a permanent repair.
In the past, sutures were usually used to repair hernias. A major difference between hernia mesh and sutures is the mesh may shrink or move. If either occurs, there can be bowel perforations, organ damage, obstructions and more surgery required. These problems can occur when the mesh product is poorly designed or has an artificial coating. If there is a bowel perforation, sepsis can occur, which is a serious infection that can be deadly.
Hernia Mesh Products Often Rushed to Market
Many of the synthetic surgical mesh products that have been sold in the past decade were rushed onto the American market with the 510k FDA clearance process. These products often were made and marketed with few clinical studies about the devices’ safety. Many of these medical devices have been quietly withdrawn from the market or been recalled.
Many of the troublesome hernia mesh medical devices featured major design defects and undisclosed risks:
- Use of coatings on the mesh that can cause adverse reactions and infections
- Excessive tissue and mesh contractions
- Mesh may migrate, shrink or transform into a hard mass
- Body rejection of the hernia mesh
Hernia Mesh Recall Lawsuits
It is estimated that thousands of hernia mesh lawsuits have been filed across the United States in recent years. Plaintiffs with hernia mesh complications allege the medical device manufacturer should have told patients and doctors of the possible defects associated with the products.
Product liability claims have been consolidated into Multi-District Litigations (MDLs). This legal process centralizes pretrial discovery for many similar cases to save time, court costs and legal fees.
There are active MDLs against Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon associated with its Physiomesh hernia mesh; that is MDL 2782 in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Hernia mesh lawsuits against Atrium for problems with its C-Qur hernia mesh have been consolidated in MDL 2753 in the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire.
Physiomesh Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Litigation related to Physiomesh made by Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon state that the multi-layer coating on the product did not allow for proper incorporation of the mesh into the body, leading to major complications. It also is alleged the mesh is insufficient to handle routine abdominal forces, which can lead to herniations through the mesh.
C-Qur Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Litigation related to the Atrium hernia mesh called C-Qur allege that the fish oil gel coating led to serious complications, such as detachment from the device implant. This may lead to adhesions, adherence to organs and related problems. Plaintiffs further allege they experienced severe abdominal discomfort and hernia recurrence that required additional surgery.
Covidien Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
Litigation related to Covidien hernia mesh that is sold by CR Bard Inc. allege that a resin-based plastic was used on the hernia mesh. That plastic was at the center of a Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS that was given to OSHA. The MSDS stated the plastic should never be used in medical applications that involve an implant in the body. Nor should such a resin be used where there is contact to internal bodily fluids or tissues. The plastic rings on this implant are alleged to have caused pain, perforations, infections and obstructions.
Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Settlements
As of now, there have been no major settlements for surgical hernia mesh products, including Physiomesh, C-Qur and others. Generally, large settlements involving MDLs do not happen until a few personal injury lawsuits are tried in front of juries. At that time, the device manufacturer better understands its financial risk and may be more willing to offer a settlement.
But in 2011, CR Bard did settle 3,000 hernia mesh lawsuits for $184 million for its Kugel Mesh. That medical device was the subject of an FDA recall in 2005, 2006 and 2007. But lawsuits against Bard and DaVol continued for many years. In 2017, a West Virginia federal judge dismissed several of these lawsuits. He ruled that all Bard claims had been settled for an amount that was undisclosed.
Also, thousands of claims were filed against manufacturers of vaginal surgical mesh, which is similar to a hernia mesh. This product was made to treat women who had incontinence. Over the years, the device could erode in the body and lead to pain, organ damage and revision surgeries. Approximately 100,000 vaginal surgical mesh lawsuits were filed and led to $3 billion in settlements.
Even if there have been no hernia mesh lawsuit settlements recently, it is still beneficial to file a claim. If one of the product manufacturers agrees to a large settlement under current MDL litigation, you would be eligible to receive compensation.
Understanding a Hernia Mesh Claim
Personal injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits have been filed by thousands of people against medical device manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, Atricum, Bard/Devol and Coviden.
Some of the common problems with a hernia mesh implants include:
- Bowel obstruction
- Organ perforation
- Severe pain that is documented in your medical records
- Removal or revision surgery
Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Compensation
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries related to hernia mesh, you could be entitled to some or all of these damages:
- Past and future medical costs. If you have been injured by this medical device, you may have huge medical bills for revision surgery, infection treatment, perforations and obstructions and medical care for chronic, severe pain.
- Past and future pain and suffering caused by your injuries, as well as for treatment and recovery.
- Past and future income loss.
- Loss of capacity to earn a living in the past and future.
- Punitive damages in some cases.
Talk to a Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Attorney Today
If you or a loved one suffered an injury from surgical hernia mesh, you could be entitled to compensation under current MDL litigation processes or through a separate settlement. Please talk to one of our hernia mesh lawsuit personal injury attorneys today for more information.
- Hernia Surgical Mesh. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/implants-and-prosthetics/hernia-surgical-mesh-implants
- Mesh for Hernia Repair Reduces Recurrence. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/news/20140219/mesh-for-hernia-repair-reduces-recurrence-study-suggests#1