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A Tennessee couple has filed a new Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuit against manufacturer Ethicon and parent company Johnson & Johnson. The couple claims that after the wife went through hernia repair surgery with the mesh, she suffered from serious injuries. They filed the case in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County, and seek compensatory and punitive damages.

Plaintiff Has to Undergo Additional Surgeries to Have Weakened Physiomesh Removed

According to the complaint, the plaintiff went through hernia repair surgery on September 11, 2012, at Gateway Medical Center in Clarksville, Tennessee. The surgery was meant to repair an incarcerated ventral incisional hernia.

This is a hernia that develops at the site of a previous incision in the abdomen and has become cut off from blood flow. It’s particularly dangerous as the lack of blood flow can cause tissue death. Dead tissues can then release toxins throughout the body, so surgery is typically recommended right away.

During the plaintiff’s surgery, surgeons used a 15 x 20 centimeter Physiomesh. This device is meant to help shore up and support the tissues in and around the hernia, and to create a longer-lasting, more secure repair. For the plaintiff, however, this wasn’t the case.

On July 22, 2014, because of complications with the mesh, she had to undergo a second surgery to have it removed. During the procedure, the doctors noted that the mesh product was “markedly attenuated,” which means weakened or thinned, and that there were recurrent herniations around the area where the previous repair had been completed, mainly due to mesh failure.

The surgeons were unable to remove all of the mesh, however, and the plaintiff had to go back in for a third surgery on November 4, 2014. During that surgery, doctors removed additional portions of the Physiomesh, and noted that it had fragmented so badly that it was difficult to recognize the mesh at all.

The plaintiff claims to continue to experience severe pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, all of which interfere with her ability to go about her regular daily activities. She is also now at increased risk of severe complications during any future abdominal surgeries, so much so that such surgeries may not be feasible.

Physiomesh Recall Too Late for the Plaintiff

The plaintiffs claim that Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with Physiomesh. Ethicon did recall the product on May 25, 2016, warning hospitals and surgeons to stop using it for laparoscopic hernia repair because reoperation rates were higher than the average rates for comparative products. That was too late for the plaintiff, however, who was never warned about any issues with the product prior to having it implanted.

The plaintiffs blame the unique design of the Physiomesh for its problems, stating that the multi-layer coating—which was promoted by the manufacturers as helping to prevent or minimize inflammation—actually caused inflammation and adhesions, as well as migration and damage to the surrounding tissue.

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