The transvaginal mesh litigation has spanned over a decade in federal courts around the United States. Thousands of women had transvaginal mesh implanted inside of them to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and/or stress urinary incontinence (SUI)
Transvaginal mesh was meant to be a permanent solution for women.
Yet that solution turned into a permanent nightmare.
Unfortunately, your life may have changed forever after undergoing a surgical mesh procedure.
What is a Transvaginal Mesh Lawyer?
Transvaginal mesh lawyers are personal injury attorneys that know and understand how to pursue cases involving medical devices, like transvaginal mesh.
Transvaginal mesh cases are a type of product liability case. A product liability cases involve some type of manufactured product.
These cases are complex and typically require the assistance of expert witnesses. It is imperative that the attorney handling these types of cases understand the science involved.
Transvaginal mesh claims turn on whether the science supports the theory that doctors cannot safely implant mesh in the human body.
Mesh Cases Have Been Filed By the Thousands
Vaginal mesh cases differ from most other personal injury cases for another reason. These cases are filed in or removed to federal court. Most personal injury cases are brought in state court.
During the height of the litigation, these mesh cases collectively became part of a multi-district-litigation (MDL). This means that a single judge heard hundreds of transvaginal mesh cases at the same time.
Lawyers handled dozens, if not hundreds, of transvaginal mesh cases at the same time. The sheer volume of cases created problems. Lawyers missed deadlines. And courts sanctioned parties for failing to appear at depositions.
Now, after close to a decade, the MDL is closed. But you and your lawyer can still file your claim in federal court.
You Need an Experienced Lawyer
Because these lawsuits have gone on for so long, and so many cases have been filed and resolved, there are lawyers that know almost everything there is to know about transvaginal mesh.
At this point, if you go to a lawyer with no experience, you will be doing yourself a disservice.
Most lawyers understand the science at a level close to the doctors who have testified in these lawsuits.
The defense attorneys have almost a decade of devoting themselves to a single type of case.
It’s too late for a new lawyer to catch up and learn the science. You need an experienced transvaginal mesh lawyer.
Side Effects From Transvaginal Mesh
Transvaginal mesh is a sling made out of polypropylene mesh. Manufacturers developed the sling to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) occurs in women. Women will develop the inability to control their bladder. Laughing, coughing, sneezing, and/or exertion will cause women who develop SUI to leak urine.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) occurs when a woman’s bladder or pelvic organs drop. This dropping will cause an aching and often painful sensation in the vaginal area.
The worst types of POP can even result in organs protruding from the vagina.
Transvaginal Mesh Was Not Meant for the Human Body
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency that ensures that a medical device is safe for use in the human body.
The FDA has issued warning letters informing the public that transvaginal mesh products are not safe. According to the FDA, and the medical community, transvaginal mesh procedures can cause serious complications in women.
The complications associated with mesh procedures include, but are not limited to:
- Vaginal scarring
- Further urinary problems
- Dyspareunia (painful sex)
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Urinary tract infections
These complications often persist for the rest of a woman’s life. Mesh erosion, one of the most common complications, occurs when mesh causes organ perforation.
This means that the mesh protruded through the vaginal wall or organ after implantation. With an erosion, your doctor can actually feel the mesh during an examination.
Transvaginal mesh lawyers argue that no transvaginal mesh products are safe. Polypropylene, which is the main component of mesh, is not safe to implant in the human body.
Further, plaintiffs’ lawyers allege because polypropylene comprises mesh, it will eventually degrade and cause serious complications.
On the other hand, defense attorneys argue the opposite. They argue that mesh is safe, effective, and that there is no evidence of degradation or malfunction of the product.
But who is correct?
With science, nothing is an absolute certainty. But we know that doctors implanted mesh in women. After implantation, thousands of women suffered injuries.
And plaintiffs lawyers have recovered millions on behalf of their clients.
If you have had transvaginal mesh implanted and are injured, you should contact a lawyer. Regardless of the allegations and legal theories, you have a good shot at recovery.
Consider Hiring an Employment Attorney as Well
Transvaginal mesh lawyers focus on lawsuits involving mesh products. They will make sure that you recover for your medical bills. And that you are compensated for your pain and suffering.
But these lawsuits can take years. I have seen transvaginal mesh lawsuits take over five years to resolve.
In the meantime, you will likely need to work. But this will be difficult considering the serious injuries that you have suffered.
An employment attorney can help you. Employment in this country is at-will (almost always). This means that your employer can fire you for any non-illegal reason.
Non-illegal reasons typically consist of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
If you’ve been injured as a result of your transvaginal mesh procedure, you will likely have a lifelong injury. In employment terms, we call this a disability.
Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), you have the ability to request a reasonable accommodation for your disability. This might include breaks at work, leave, or the ability to go to the bathroom more frequently.
These are common accommodations for POP and SUI.
Further, you may also need to take medical leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can provide you with job-protect-unpaid leave, under certain circumstances, to get treatment for your injuries.
Perhaps you have now become the target of unwanted harassment based on your female urinary problems.
Or, perhaps, your supervisor does not like the fact you are a woman needing extra time to take care of “female problems.”
You should consider enlisting the help of an employment attorney while you are waiting for your mesh lawsuit to end.
A transvaginal mesh lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. These lawsuits come down to science.
And need a lawyer who understands the science that has developed over the last decade.
You should also understand that you are not alone. Many women still suffer from serious complications from their procedures.
That does not mean that you are helpless.
About the author: Andrew Lacy is a labor and employment lawyer in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Previously, he worked at the large, international law firm, Reed Smith. There, he worked as a products liability attorney in the transvaginal mesh litigation.