$5.5 Million Ruling in First Transvaginal Mesh Case

A treatment for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, the transvaginal mesh has been linked to many serious complications. This device is a piece of mesh, surgically implanted through the vagina. This hammock-like device supports organs such as the bladder, rectum, and uterus to keep them from dropping when a woman's pelvic muscles are too weakened to support them. With hundreds of state and federal lawsuits underway for the manufacturers of this device, a California jury has finally reached a verdict on the first of these suits.

The jury ruled in the favor of Christine Scott, who will endure a lifetime of chronic pain after attempts to remove two transvaginal mesh devices were unsuccessful. Scott sued C.R. Bard and a doctor, claiming the device is responsible for her injuries. Scott has undergone eight separate procedures, along with nine revision surgeries, all which proved unsuccessful at removing the devices. Scott was awarded $5 million in her suit. The damage to Scott's body has left her no longer able to have sexual intercourse. Due to this fact, her husband was awarded $500,000 in the suit as well.

The transvaginal mesh was tested on rats, rabbits and sheep before prior to being used on women. However, Bard continued to market its Avulta line of transvaginal mesh devices even after several legal complaints of complications emerged. It wasn't until July that Bard put a stop to the use of these devices in the United States, following a request from the FDA to run further testing. The FDA has stated that the side effects of this device are not rare and it is no longer believed to be safer than the surgical treatment option.

The jury ruled that C.R. Bard was 60 percent responsible for Scott's complications. Bard's attorneys have expressed intentions to appeal this ruling, stating, "Throughout the case, we clearly have empathized with Mrs. Scott's injuries. We just don't feel that they were the result of the Avaulta Plus product or the conduct of our company???"

With hundreds of other cases in the works, this landmark ruling has set the precedent for future proceedings. The ongoing lawsuits have been divided into five multidistrict litigations. C.R. Bard is the defendant in one of these litigations