As U.S. Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Filings Mount, Controversy Takes on International Scope

Published on September 19, 2017 by Laurie Villanueva

Even as hernia mesh lawsuits involving devices marketed by Ethicon, Inc. and Atrium Medical Corp. continue to mount in U.S. Courts, patients around the globe are coming forward with their stories of hernia repairs that went horrifically wrong, allegedly due to defective surgical mesh.

Umbilical Hernia Mesh Repair: “It never Stopped Hurting or Itching”

“Straightaway I could feel the mesh,” U.K. resident Leila Hackett told the BBC in June. “It was like somebody scratching you from inside your body, it’s so unpleasant and constant.”

“It started off like fiery burning agony but it never stopped hurting or itching.”

Hackett underwent surgery to repair an umbilical hernia in 2013 with an unnamed brand of hernia mesh.

Two years later, she was taken to hospital after mesh had become stuck to her internal organs, causing her bowel to twist. It took her doctor four hours to remove pieces of the mesh from Hackett’s tissue.

“As soon as I came round, I knew the mesh had been removed because I felt normal again,” she said.

Inguinal Hernia Mesh Repair: “It feels like I have been stabbed with something hot.”

Martin Kincey, another UK resident, started suffering from excruciating pain 13 years after he underwent mesh repair for an inguinal hernia.

“I used to play all sorts of sports,” he lamented. “But now the simplest of movements can be seriously painful. It feels like I have been stabbed with something hot.”

“They’ve ruled out everything this could be, other than pursuing the mesh complications,” he said.

Hernia Mesh Linked to Four Deaths in New Zealand

Hernia mesh has also been linked to four deaths in New Zealand. According to Stuff.NZ.com, hundreds more are living in severe pain with what they describe as a “cheese grater” ripping them up internally.

According to the daughter of Karyn Freer, her mother was left in constant pain after she underwent hernia repair with mesh. A scan revealed that a sheet of mesh the size of “a big bit of bacon” was jabbing into her organs.

On June 3rd, Karyn was admitted to the hospital to have her hernia mesh removed.

“I rang her and she was laughing away … and I said I’ll ring you in the morning, just give me a text when you’re awake and that was it, it was ‘love you, talk soon’.

But Karyn was found unresponsive early the next morning.  A coroner’s report found she died from cardiac arrest and polypharmacy. According to her family, opioid painkillers she had initially been prescribed for back pain were increased significantly after her hernia surgery.

“If it (hernia mesh) hadn’t been used she’d still be here today,” her daughter said.

Hernia Mesh Lawsuits Mounting in U.S.

So far two consolidated litigations have been established in U.S. federal courts involving hernia mesh lawsuits filed against Ethicon, Inc. and Atrium Medical Corp.

Plaintiffs with cases pending in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, are alleged to have developed adhesions, perforations, infections, mesh erosion and other debilitating complications due to Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh devices.

Brought to market in 2010, Physiomesh is made from non-absorbable polypropylene (plastic) filaments that are woven into fabric. Each side of the polypropylene mesh is covered with an absorbable film coating, which is intended to help the patch incorporate into the body and reduce inflammation. However, plaintiffs pursuing Physiomesh lawsuits claim that this design actually prevents incorporation and increases the likelihood of serious complications.

Ethicon announced a worldwide market withdrawal of Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh in May 2016, after unpublished data from two European hernia registries suggested that the product was associated with higher average recurrence and revision rates compared to other meshes used in laparoscopic ventral hernia repair.

Hernia mesh lawsuits involving Atrium’s C-Qur devices have been centralized in the U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire. C-Qur hernia mesh is made with an Omega-3 barrier coating, which purportedly reduces the risk that adhesions will form between the mesh and the intestines. Atrium Medical also promises that this feature allows for better fixation of the hernia patch to the abdominal wall. However, plaintiffs claim that the C-Qur mesh design causes an inflammatory response that promotes the formation of bowel adhesions, impedes proper abdominal wall fixation, and causes additional severe complications.

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