Early in 2018, an Idaho plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon over prolonged abdominal weakness and chronic pain suffered for seven years following an incisional hernia operation due to a defective mesh implant. The health issues lingered for years following the hernia repair.
The plaintiff ultimately had the hernia mesh implant removed in 2017 but the material already migrated into the intestinal area, resulting in a bowel obstruction.
By May 2016, the Ethicon Physiomesh hernia mesh implant had been pulled from the global market, but medical issues related to the continue to surface. C.R. Bard, Inc. is another manufacturer that has been the target of litigation over hernia mesh devices as recently as 2017.
The plaintiff in this lawsuits claims that an incisional hernia operation led to multiple corrective surgeries, an abdominal wall abscess, and serious infections.
However, there are physicians who’ve performed thousands of these corrective procedures without using mesh appliances. Researchers and industry experts believe the post-hernia surgery complication rate ranges between 12 and 20 percent.
Leading physicians say this high rate is unacceptable. With thousands of patients involved in class action lawsuits over the hernia implants, the devices clearly aren’t as safe as manufacturers make them out to be.
The lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risks associated with the Ethicon Physiomesh for years. The lawsuit contends that despite being aware of the unreasonable risks and numerous defects related to the product, the J&J manufactured, distributed and marketed the product with the intent they’d be implanted into patients.
The plaintiff claims J&J was aware the hernia mesh devices were likely to cause harm or injury after they were implanted in patients.
Researchers have determined that in comparison to other mesh products, Physiomesh had a substantially higher pain rate and more hernia recurrences. As of February 2018, there were over 500 hernia mesh implant lawsuits pending in the Northern District of Georgia.
In total, more than 330,000 Physiomesh were sold worldwide, with nearly half sold in the U.S. Ethicon is also the subject of other lawsuits targeting the Proceed and Prolene Hernia System mesh implant.