These days it seems like every other commercial on the television is a lawyer offering to help women suffering from transvaginal mesh complications. Inboxes are inundated with junk emails warning those who have undergone the implant to act immediately. All of them suggest they’ll do it from the goodness of their heart and promise big settlements. So much propaganda, all suggesting anyone who’s had the procedure in any form ever is destined for millions of dollars, just by picking up the phone! But what’s really going on with all of this?
The truth is, thousands upon thousands of women have begun or already brought lawsuits against the seven leading companies that produce transvaginal mesh implants, and many of them are receiving well-deserved compensation. American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, Coloplast, Cook Medical, C.R. Bard, Ethicon, and Neomedic are the top seven manufacturers being charged. Juries are holding these companies accountable for fraud, deceit, improper or lacking tests for safety, and failure to warn the public, the FDA, and the medical community of the risks their products contain. Most commonly these risks include tissue erosion near the implant site, organ perforation, and the need for additional surgeries to correct these problems.
Taking a Case to Trial
With 49,000 cases currently on the table, millions of dollars are being paid out through settlements or individual suits to women. Not every woman is winning, but the odds are definitely in their favor. Some cases are lumped together into one big settlement (aka a class-action lawsuit), which can be faster, more efficient, and less expensive for individuals. Once involved with the settlement, a woman can’t back out and decide to face the company one on one. This is an important decision to make up front, because one-on-one cases can sometimes have a bigger payout. According to Vanessa Blanco, a transvaginal mesh patient advocate, while one company settled by paying a total of sixteen million dollars to four hundred cases, in some cases individual women are winning anywhere from one to over eleven million dollars each.
When the trials come up, juries take into account several things before making their decision—how long the transvaginal mesh caused trouble, how extensive that trouble was, and how much suffering the woman is still likely to face are all key factors. Also taken into account are lost wages and how much has been or will be spent on medical treatment, whether to put the device in, take it out, or fix the ensuing complications.
Despite the public tendency to mistrust the justice system and blow off intruding commercials and junk mail, many lawyers not only specialize in this exact arena but offer free consultations to women looking for help. In the consultation, some lawyers will also help you figure out how much you deserve. Many don’t require an up-front payment, taking their wages out of winning amounts for women who may not have the cash at hand to get the ball rolling. More lawsuits means more public awareness, which means less women who have to be put in such a position to begin with.