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Gynecare/Ethicon Patient Awarded $3.35 Million Dollars in Compensatory damage and $7.8 million dollars in Punitive Damages

On February 25, the jury in the case of Linda Gross v. Ethicon awarded the 47-year old plaintiff and her husband $3.35 million dollars. On the following day, the jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay Linda and her husband a total of $7.8 million dollars in punitive damages in addition to her initial settlement. Compensation awards were given for past and future pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, future and past wages, future medical treatment, and loss of consortium/ companionship, awarded to her husband Jeff. Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon plans to appeal the verdict.

After having a Gynecare Prolfit System implant for pelvic organ prolapse, Linda began experiencing a flurry of medical problems including vaginal pain, urinary tract infections, bleeding, scarring, and recurrent prolapse. Upon following up with Linda’s complications, physicians found that Linda’s mesh implant had eroded and that her mesh had perforated through her surrounding organs. Linda was told that she would have to have removal surgery to treat her complications. While most revision processes require an average of 2 or 3 surgeries, Linda had to have a total of 18 corrective surgeries to repair severe damage caused by her Gynecare Prolfit mesh implant.

The Gynecare Prolfit System was initially touted as a new and innovative means of treating pelvic organ prolapse. The system included pre-cut mesh and ready-made hooks and trocars for implanting the device. The Gynecare Prolift System was manufactured by Ethicon, which is the medical device division of Johnson & Johnson.

Over the course of Linda’s trial, the jury saw that Ethicon’s Research & Development and marketing teams worked closely together and decided to launch Prolift System as soon as possible to take advantage of the pelvic organ prolapse and Urinary Incontinence device market at the time. Ethicon sought to beat out other prominent transvaginal mesh manufacturers such as American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific Corporation, and Cololpast.

Before launching the product, Ethicon was aware of several tests that suggested that the Gynemesh material used in the Prolift system, which was originally only for the purposes of hernia repair, caused severe complications on human cadavers and animals. Several Ethicon employees described the Gynemesh as very likely to cause complications. Unabashedly, Ethicon decided to market and launch the Prolift system in early 2005. Ethicon even went as far to bypass FDA approval altogether.

Prior to her mesh implant, Linda Gross worked as a hospice nurse. After the mesh implant, Linda reported that she was unable to sit down for more than 20 minutes without feeling serious discomfort. She had to self-catheterize in order to urinate and experienced severe pain in her legs and lower abdomen. Since her mesh implant, Linda has undergone over 9 mesh removal surgeries and over 400 medical encounters.

Last year, Ethicon removed several of its transvaginal mesh products including the Prolift systems, Prosima Pelvic Floor Repair System, and TVT Secur System. There are currently over 5000 cases currently filed against Ethicon.

If you have had a transvaginal mesh product implanted and have experienced complications, please contact us using the free consultation form on this page, or call us at 1-888-426-4156.