Medical device manufacturer C.R. Bard has been ordered to pay $35 million in punitive damages to a woman who has blamed her injuries on the company’s vaginal mesh implants. According to a Bloomberg news report, the punitive damages handed down April 13 in New Jersey brings to $68 million the amount that Bard must pay to the plaintiffs, Mary McGinnis and her husband. McGinnis said the Bard vaginal mesh inserts, which are designed to support sagging pelvic organs and address incontinence issues, were defective and left her in a state of chronic pain.
Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits
Like thousands of other women nationwide, McGinnis alleged Bard’s Avaulta and Align devices shrank after they were implanted, causing nerve damage and leaving her unable to have sexual intercourse. McGinnis underwent four surgeries in hopes of having all the mesh removed from her body. Many women have also alleged that despite several surgeries and excruciating pain, they have been unable to get a broken mesh that becomes embedded in the vaginal wall and other pelvic organs.
This verdict comes even as Bard is pushing to resolve thousands of lawsuits over these products, which have been criticized repeatedly for damaging women’s organs. Many have said they are unable to live normal lives, keep a job or even be intimate with their spouses or partners. Bard has settled more than 13,000 cases since 2014. Bard still faces more than 3,000 lawsuits over allegedly defective vaginal mesh implants. The company is also facing 150 lawsuits in state courts in New Jersey.
Jury Sends Strong Message
As product defect attorneys who have represented a number of women in vaginal mesh cases, we are pleased that this New Jersey jury sent out a strong message to not just Bard, but other makers of vaginal mesh products and medical device products. Bard took the Avaulta implants off the market in 2012 and did the same with Align inserts in 2016. This move came after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Bard, J&J and Boston Scientific to study injury rates linked to these mesh devices.
It is unacceptable for medical device manufacturers to put products on the market without adequate testing. A number of these vaginal mesh products had gotten into the market through a flawed FDA approval process. The women who suffered excruciating pain and serious health complications paid the price for the medical device manufacturers’ negligence. We hope the victims in these cases get their day in court, hold these corporations accountable and receive the compensation they deserve for the significant pain and suffering they have endured.