On Tuesday, more than 150 federal lawsuits involving vaginal mesh slings were consolidated in a U.S. District Court in West Virginia. In other words, these federal cases now become a pseudo-class action lawsuit for discovery purposes. The MDL panel – the judges that decided these things – issued the transfer order because the “actions in each MDL share factual issues arising from allegations of defects in pelvic surgical mesh products manufactured by AMS, Boston Scientific, and Ethicon.” West Virginia was actually a venue choice that defendants only modestly opposed; being in front of one judge who understands the issues is probably a win-win for everyone (a rarity in mass tort cases).
For all the vaginal mesh manufacturers, the cases are largely the same. Plaintiffs’ lawyers allege in these lawsuits that that the manufacturers of these vaginal mesh systems knew – or certainly should have known – that these mesh devices were not safe for the patients for whom they were prescribed and implanted. Why? Because it was obvious that the mesh would erode or otherwise malfunction if they had just took an honest look at it.
It is worth repeating: this is a problem that can hit women of all ages, colors, shapes, and sizes. Clearly, however, elderly women bear the brunt of the problem: the fastest growing segment of the population in North America is women over the age of 80. It is expected that the elderly female population will continue to steadily grow until 2050. Women over the age of 50 are most affected by pelvic organ prolapse (30-50% of women). By the age of 79 women are reported to have an 11-12% chance of having at least one surgery for prolapse or incontinence. It is probable that these numbers will continue to rise given the aging population. The take-home message is clear: women are experiencing this problem in massive numbers. They are just not talking about it at parties and such.
The result has been women whose lives have been turned upside down, causing a laundry list of problems: erosion, infection, sepsis, extrusion, and so forth. You can try to remove the eroded or infected mesh, but that comes with a host of potentially painful, disfiguring, and life-threatening complications. The whole thing is a mess that never had to happen.
Do you qualify for a vaginal mesh lawsuit? If you want to make a claim, call us at 800-553-8082. Or get a confidential and free online consultation here.
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