CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Women injured by pelvic mesh devices rallied in front of the federal courthouse in Charleston Tuesday in an effort to resolve thousands of cases filed against the procedure.
As of last week, seven mesh manufacturers are facing nearly 80,000 product liability cases against transvaginal and hernia mesh slings, consolidated before Judge Joseph Goodwin in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of West Virginia.
The net-like implant is used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and urinary incontinence problems in women, but the product design contributes to serious complications causing chronic pain and infections.
“It has killed women. It has had women commit suicide. The mesh migrates through your body, it breaks, it goes through organs. It has crippled a lot of women. There’s a lot of divorces,” said Tammy Jackson, of Kentucky, whose had surgery complications. “We’re here to bring awareness, so this product will be recalled off the market.”
Judge Goodwin ordered all manufacturers of mesh to come together Tuesday, to hear both sides and eventually reach a settlement agreement.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the permanent medical device was not supposed to be used in women. Manufacturers bypassed it, without FDA testing or approval of the device.
Jackson said her case has been filed for nearly five years. Since then, she said thousands of women have undergone numerous surgeries.
Lisa Mason, of Florida, said she hopes a settlement can be reached to help cover her surgery costs since she currently does not have insurance.
“One, we want it off the market, so no more women get hurt and two, we want the manufacturers to be responsible for the surgeries that we have to have,” said Mason.
Since the first implementation in the late 1990s, the FDA noted, in 2011, mesh complications rose and that it was “not rare” the complications could be life-altering and permanent.
By Carrie Hodousek