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Boston Scientific Loses Vaginal Mesh Trial; $100 Million Judgment

attorney speaking to juryBloomberg reports that a Delaware state court jury found Boston Scientific liable for a plaintiff’s Pinnacle mesh complications, rendering the largest verdict yet against the device maker. Plaintiff Deborah Barba, a 51-year-old former bank worker, argued that the Pinnacle and Advantage Fit surgical mesh system left her with permanent disabilities, vaginal scarring and a host of medical issues.

Her transvaginal mesh lawsuit, brought in 2011, marks just one of more than 25,000 complaints currently pending against the manufacturer.

Barba’s attorneys confirmed that the judgment included $25 million in compensatory damages, as well as $75 million punitive damage award. The latter is reserved by juries to help punish defendants and deter similar conduct in the future.

Transvaginal mesh verdict against Boston Scientific

The verdict against Boston Scientific comes on the heels of the company’s recent decision to settle roughly 3,000 cases alleging harmful pelvic mesh complications. The mesh settlement is reported to total around $119 million, averaging out to roughly $40,000 per case.

Many of these complaints allege similar injuries and losses incurred from vaginal mesh devices, which are intended to help treat stress urinary incontinence and symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

In this recent trial, one of the lawyers for Barba contended that her client’s mesh complications had “profoundly changed” her life, adding that she hoped the substantial $100 million ruling might influence Boston Scientific and other vaginal mesh makers to resolve remaining cases.

Barba, like thousands of other women who were implanted with bladder slings and mesh devices, endured multiple surgeries to help alleviate her problems. Unfortunately, once mesh erosion occurs, it’s extremely difficult for doctors to entirely remove the product, which becomes embedded in surrounding tissue, causing scarring and adhesions.

The majority of plaintiffs involved in mesh litigation claim their lives have been upended by the products, and can no longer enjoy sexual intercourse with their partners. Chronic infections, infertility and recurrence of incontinence symptoms are other side effects alleged by claimants.

Company failed to warn about potential risks, jurors find

Jurors in the Barba case deliberated for just seven hours before finding that Boston Scientific had been negligent in the design and manufacture of their Pinnacle and Advantage mesh devices and failed to properly warn doctors about possible risks.

Thus far, the ruling is the largest judgment against Boston Scientific, which was ordered to pay $73 million to a Texas woman who suffered injuries after receiving the Obtryx sling. The award was later brought down to $34 million.

“We disagree with the jury’s finding and intend to appeal based on the strength of our evidence,” said Boston Scientific spokesperson Kelly Leadem. The company staunchly denies that its vaginal mesh products are defective and refutes allegations that it failed to warn about potential risks and complications.

While many are urging for a global transvaginal mesh recall based on safety concerns, only a handful of manufacturers have pulled certain products off the market, citing waning sales. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling four lines of its Gynecare mesh products, with no admission of product defects or liability.

  1. Reuters, Boston Scientific ordered to pay $100 million in transvaginal mesh trial

  2. Bloomberg, Boston Scientific Ordered to Pay $100 Million Over Mesh