Jurors have awarded $5.5 million in damages to a California woman and her husband due to injuries the woman sustained from a vaginal implant. It is the first case over such devices to go to trial. However, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against various companies alleging that the implants caused organ damage.
In this case, the jury determined July 20 that Christine Scott and her husband deserved the damage award as a result of the injuries caused by an implant made by New Jersey-based Bard, Boston Scientific Corp., according to Elaine Houghton, one of the couple’s attorneys. C.R. Bard Inc.’s officials were found by the jury to be negligent in the handling of the devices, which are “used to treat pelvic organs that bulge, or prolapse, or to deal with incontinence.” According to Houghton, the jury was initially asked to consider awarding up to $11 million in damages.
Regarding the panel’s decision, Houghton said: “They seemed to focus on evidence we produced showing that Bard didn’t properly test the product before putting it on the market.” A copy of the verdict sheet revealed that the jury awarded the couple $5.5 million-60 percent of which Bard was found responsible for. The other 40 percent of the liability was attributed to Dr. Tillakarasi Kannappan, who surgically implanted the device in 2008. However, he will not be held responsible for the actual payment of this share of the settlement, which amounts to roughly $1.9 million. Attorneys representing the doctor did not return a call seeking comment.
Bard officials have said that they are “disappointed” with the panel’s decision and plan to appeal. A spokesman for the company, Scott Lowry, said in an emailed statement, “While we empathize with the complications suffered by the plaintiff, those complications are not the fault of any conduct by the company.” With regard to the product, Lowry said that the company believes evidence establishes that they are “safe and effective and provide significant benefits to patients.”
The implants are cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but an August 2011 report by the administration reviewed side effect reports from 2008 to 2010 and found that vaginal-mesh products should be classified as “posing high risk to patients.” Jurors in the Scott case determined that Bard officials “knew or should have known” that surgeons would not realize the risks posed by the implant. The devices are now receiving criticism from women’s groups demanding that they be recalled.
Scott’s attorneys have said that they plan to continue pressing claims against Kannappan in an appeal and argue that Bard is responsible for the full amount of $5.5 million.
If you have undergone a vaginal-mesh procedure and are experiencing complications that you believe to be related to this product, please contact one of our TVM lawyers to review your case and provide you with a comprehensive evaluation. Our experienced staff of attorneys has been handling defective medical device claims for over four decades and understands that having a medical complication can be a frightening and life-altering experience. We are prepared to fight for you and resolve any injustice. Our attorneys are available around-the-clock-including weekends- for free case consultations. We can be reached at (877) 721-4824 or (617) 326-5347.
Bard, Doctor Ordered To Pay $5.5 Million Over Implant, Bloomberg News, July 25, 2012