Since the news broke of a class-action lawsuit in Canada against Johnson and Johnson for its faulty transvaginal mesh, hundreds of women have come forward seeking more information, Canadian television reported.
Within days of the news breaking on CTV, Canada’s largest privately owned English-language network, scores of women are wondering if the pain they’re having is a result of the transvaginal mesh that was surgically implanted, CTV reported. The news station said women have come forward with disturbing stories of pain and suffering from the flawed device.
Class Action: J&J Failed to Warn Patients
The class action, filed Ontario Superior Court of Justice in early April, alleges that Johnson and Johnson didn’t adequately protect and warn patients or their healthcare providers about the dangers associated with transvaginal mesh. Around the world, the mesh has been used to fix a painful condition known as pelvic organ prolapse, which occurs when a woman’s internal organs including the uterus, rectum and bladder, fall into the vaginal.
The mesh is supposed to support the organs, like a hammock. But instead, it has been link to severe and sometimes deadly side effects, including crippling pain and infection. That’s because once the mesh is inserted, it has a tendency to breakdown and erode into nearby organs. It is known to perforate organs and fall apart.
One woman said she could no longer sit or drive because of intense pain. Another said she’s in so much pain she can’t work anymore. Still another woman said pieces of mesh have broken off and are literally falling out of her vagina and coming out in her urine.
Surgery Required to Correct Mesh Problems
Whether they’re in Canada or the United States, women who have been victim to transvaginal mesh have faced painful revision surgeries. It’s a difficult surgery for even the most skilled surgeon because surgically implanted mesh quickly integrates with nearby tissues. Removing it is a painstaking process and usually takes many attempts.
Dr. Jens-Erik Walter of the Canadian Society of Pelvic Medicine, and the Urogynecology division at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, defended the mesh saying its useful in some cases. But many surgeons have not been well trained in using the device, he said.
“I don’t think all of the surgeons carrying out these procedures have sufficient training to manage their complications and potentially thoroughly counsel these patients regarding these risks,” he said.
In addition to the Canadian class action, women in America are filing suit as well. Hundreds of women have joined multidistrict lawsuits (MDLs) filed in a West Virginia district court against several mesh manufacturers including Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific and C.R. Bard. In total, there are four MDLs pending. All of the women allege that the faulty products currently on the market were based on a design that was voluntarily recalled in 1999.