The Pennsylvania woman at the center of the state’s latest transvaginal mesh lawsuit trial is now going public with her story, just weeks after a Philadelphia jury ordered Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon, Inc. subsidiary to pay her more than $57 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
“I’m just glad Johnson & Johnson is finally getting their hand smacked when it should be,” she said. “They’re doing things seriously hurting and harming women everywhere.”
Ella Ebaugh, 51, was implanted with Ethicon’s TVT-Secur mesh implant in 2007 to treat incontinence. She later underwent corrective surgery due to mid-urethral erosion, at which time she was implanted with a different TVT product.
In June 2011, Ebaugh was forced to undergo yet another transvaginal mesh revision surgery. However, she continued to experience complications that required her to endure a fifth surgery just last year.
In her lawsuit, Ebaugh charged that the TVT devices were defective, and accused Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon of failing to warn doctors and patients of their risks. Last month a jury in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas agreed, and awarded her $7.1 million in compensatory and $50 million in punitive damages.
Ebaugh discussed her ordeal last week in an interview with the York Daily Record.
“A lot of days, I can’t get out of bed,” she said “I struggle every day. I will struggle with that pain every day for the rest of my life.”
Ebaugh now carries a diaper bag with her wherever she goes, and is forced to sit in a special chair when she visits her mother. Though her 16-year-old son’s athletic events continue to be a highlight in her life, she is now “chained to the bathroom,” and must be sure to sit near a restroom when she attends.
“Yes, I will wear diapers the rest of my life. Yes, I can’t be intimate with my husband,” Ebaugh continued. “Yes, I’m depressed. These are things I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Ebaugh’s verdict was the fifth for an Ethicon plaintiff in the transvaginal mesh mass tort program currently underway in Philadelphia. Four previous juries have awarded plaintiffs compensatory and punitive damages ranging from $2.16 million to $20 million.
Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon won their first Pennsylvania case in June. However, that plaintiff was recently granted a motion for a new hearing on damages, after arguing that the verdict was inconsistent with the evidence presented at trial.
Nationwide, Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon have been named a defendant in more than 55,000 transvaginal mesh lawsuits.