On March 9th 2010, six years ago, I walked into a hospital without a walking stick, perfectly healthy except for a rectocele prolapse. I trusted the medical establishment because that is what good Americans do. They are the professionals in an area I knew nothing about and I accepted that this was not in my field of knowledge. I did not know that from that day on I was going to be living a journey through HELL without an ending. I was on POST OP for a total of four months after going through that surgery and another second surgery to cut the sling in the center. I thought however when undergoing the second surgery, that my surgeon had decided to remove it because she knew I was in serious trouble. What a bad joke that was on me! It was only then that I was told that it was not meant to be removed and she couldn’t remove it.
You may wonder why I write about what happened to me today, because you know I do have a lawsuit against this manufacturer. So I will explain.
First I did everything right before I had this surgery! I searched on line for a surgeon who would fix my prolapse so I could continue on with my life. I found one listed as a five star surgeon in a huge hospital in down town Houston, renowned for its medical hospitals and care. I had NEVER had any surgery before this one and I thought if I was going to do this I wanted to feel as safe as possible. The surgeon I found was Gazala Siddique and she was listed as an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University Of Texas Medical Center. To me a 5 star surgeon meant she has a good knowledge of a woman’s body in more ways than one and I would be safe under her care. So I went to see her on New Year’s Eve in 2009 for a consult appointment to find out what my problem was and what I could do about it. I was never offered any alternative to surgery, never given a pamphlet to read up on what she would use and I NEVER HAD INCONTINENCE.
I liked this woman when I met her and I trusted in her abilities because she was not too young, but old enough to have experience. That was my FIRST mistake! Never trust anyone by appearance and age.
At that time there was very little on the Internet about prolapse and I did not know key words to look up other things because she never mentioned mesh or the name of the implant. In fact the word implant was never mentioned on any visit to her office.
I went back to see her again before the surgery for tests and a date was set and even then she never spent time explaining the procedure or mentioned an implant. I believe this is because most doctors think they are the only ones who need to know and patients should let them do their job. To have this prolapse fixed I paid cash because I did not have insurance. I believed what I was told. It would be a simple surgery and I could then resume my life. There’s a lot more to this story and one day I will share EVERYTHING.
Why would I give her name now you may wonder? Because I was a healthy sixty-two year old woman WITHOUT any other symptoms or health problems and now I will be sixty-nine this year and I have many problems ALL BECAUSE OF MESH. I believe that she was just as responsible for my disabilities as the Manufacturer and the hospital because my type of sling had been out since 2004. She should have looked into this thoroughly instead of signing up to put them into women, just because she was told to by the hospital administration. I am also doing this for another very important reason.
Every year around the anniversary date of my implant surgery I struggle with what happened to me and I wonder how many other women were implanted by this same doctor and have no clue why they are in pain. A year ago I read a message through Facebook from a woman in this area who told me she had met a wonderful doctor who would help women when they came back from removal at UCLA. I was so pleased so I asked who it was so I could give the name to other women. I was shocked when I read it. It was my implanting doctor. I was shocked not just by a name but the woman said she had been told by this doctor that she never used mesh. It threw me so hard and made me feel so angry and I told another woman I knew who had been implanted by the same doctor. She too was shocked.
My story continues.
I arrived at Herman Hospital in downtown Houston very early in the morning of the ninth of March 2010, with my daughter Kim, who drove me there. This hospital is two hours’ drive from our home, three in heavy traffic. There is a lot more to the story of my first surgery, but I will tell it all later.
Like many women I have spoken to, I knew something was wrong from the beginning after surgery but I thought it was normal. I had never had a surgery so could not put a finger on the problem that loomed over me. Not only that but after surgery I had a catheter for nine weeks before the second surgery to cut the sling. I often watched as the catheter bag filled up with urine, blood and puss and I took many, many types of antibiotics during those weeks and my situation did not change. I was in pain and a mess and felt lost and worried.
Like I said there is so much more to my story, which I will share later. But months later, after asking her several times what she used and I received no answer, I got my records from the hospital records department and found out that it was a Boston Scientific Advantage Fit mesh sling.
Okay, so we have all read the millions of dollars other women received during litigation trials right? It sounds fantastic right? But none of it is true for thousands of women like me who will never live a normal life again.
Last year a jury gave another woman a huge sum for her settlement. 100 Million dollars! The jury found that her sling, same type as mine was defective. Wow doesn’t that make you think you will be compensated for all your suffering and your future issues because of these products? Not so fast. First I will share with you the big amounts that lawyers share on their Internet sites because they want to suck you in to join their lawsuits. However, this is all a ruse. Let’s read some of these first.
$100 Million was awarded to the plaintiffs in Deborah Barba v. Boston Scientific by a Delaware jury on May 28, 2015. The award was reduced to $10 Million by the judge after the trial. On February 10, 2016, $13.5 million was awarded by a Philadelphia jury in Carlino v. Ethicon. $10 million of that award was for punitive damages. The plaintiff suffered through three TVT sling revision and removal mesh surgeries following her Ethicon/Johnson and Johnson implant.
I also suffered one revision and removal surgery and have had a total of FIVE surgeries.
And here is more.
As of February 15, 2016, eighteen (18) transvaginal mesh plaintiffs have won trials and the defendants have won six (6). Following the failed status conferences, TVM trials moved forward, resulting in two plaintiffs’ verdicts ranging from $100 Million to $5.7 Million and numerous confidential settlements. Boston Scientific, Coloplast, AMS and Bard have begun offering settlements. Ethicon/Johnson and Johnson and Cook are preparing for trials.
I am including only last years about Boston Scientific trials, because that is what I had and you can find your implant on any lawyer’s site. Lawyers and the media make it seem as if every woman will be properly and fairly compensated, but it is all a lie. Now let’s read more because this is where the lies begin.
Most of the lawsuits filed in the federal court system have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings, where they are being handled in a manner similar to how a vaginal mesh class action would proceed. However, each case remains an individual lawsuit and each plaintiff’s damages will be determined based on the individual circumstances in their case and how the mesh failure has impacted their health.
Doesn’t that sound great? But what they DON”T say is that you have to prove your case first by having the mesh removed. If you can’t find the money then you are screwed. Not only that but you will still have to jump through hoops before you actually settle and it is all based on a Matrix system. The Matrix system is how many surgeries you had and what symptoms you are left with. And YOU HAVE TO PROVE that too! Even then the manufacturer could turn around and deny your claim based on any other health issues you had in the past. You will be ON TRIAL without even stepping into a court room. So what happens if you don’t accept the offer? This also came off a lawyer’s site.
Despite the settlements, thousands of cases continue to move forward to trial and new lawsuits continue to be filed. If all of the different manufacturers do not reach agreements to settle vaginal mesh lawsuits following a series of “bellwether” trials set throughout 2014, hundreds of individual cases may be remanded back to courts throughout the country for simultaneous trial dates in 2015.
Lawyers are smart. Read the word MAY be remanded back to a court in your State. This means if your case is worth big bucks you may wind up in court near your home, but not by the lawyer you hired because they are signing an agreement with manufacturers to NOT take your case to court in your home State. So he/she is going to do their utmost to convince you the offer is all you are worth, because they want THEIR money for signing you up in the first place and they don’t want to go further for you regardless of the lies they told you personally in the past saying they would take your case to court if you don’t accept your offer.
So what are they looking for to make you an offer? Here is more from a lawyer’s site.
Any negotiations to settle transvaginal mesh injury claims will be based on what a jury is likely to award in each case. If a lawsuit proceeds to trial, a jury will take into account the nature of the claimed injury, the severity of the damage and the economic impact of the injury from a vaginal mesh.
Some of the common factors that a jury may consider include:
- The extent and duration of the injury suffered from a vaginal mesh complication;
- The effect that the vaginal mesh injury had on the overall physical and mental health or well-being of the plaintiff;
- The pain and mental anguish suffered in the past and which will likely be suffered in the future;
- The amount of any past or future medical expenses caused by vaginal mesh complications;
Any lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
Yeah right. Does this mean we will all be given millions based on trials won? Read the blog I wrote about the settlement with AMS/Endo. This is that blog Most of the things on that list above is bullshit! You will see what I mean when you read that blog.
All claims are pursued on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are no out-of-pocket expenses to hire our law firm and we only receive an attorney fee if we are successful obtaining a settlement or recovery in the case. Let’s tell the truth here.
Just remember every phone call you make you will be charged for and everything else that you had no idea was a charge. Here’s more from a lawyers site.
Problems with Boston Scientific mesh or bladder sling systems have caused thousands of women throughout the United States to suffer severe complications and injuries after surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence.
In addition to bladder mesh products manufactured other companies, such as C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems (AMS) and Ethicon/Gynecare, product liability cases are being reviewed for women who may have received one of the following pelvic mesh or bladder sling product manufactured by Boston Scientific:
- Pinnacle Pelvic Floor Repair Kit
- Uphold Vaginal Support System
- Advantage Fit Transvaginal Mid-Urethral Sling System
- Obtryx Transobturator Mid-Urethral Sling
- Solynx SIS Vaginal Sling System
- Prefyx PPS Pelvic Sling System
- Lynx Suprapublic Mid-Urethral Sling System
Although these products have been promoted as a safe and effective alternative for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary bladder incontinence (SUI), the FDA has received thousands of adverse event reports involving Boston Scientific bladder mesh and vaginal sling systems, as well as similar products made by other companies.
Please, please report your sling complications to the FDA. Read this blog
Not only do the pelvic mesh systems pose a risk of serious complications, there appears to be no evidence that transvaginal insertion of a bladder sling provides any benefit over other available treatment for pelvic organ prolapse.
Boston Scientific and other manufacturers obtained approval for most of these devices under the FDA’s controversial 510(k) Premarket Notification System, which allows a manufacturer to start selling the product without vigorous premarket testing, if they can establish that it is substantially equivalent to something else that has already been approved.
No TESTING. We have all learned this after an implant was inserted in our bodies and we ARE the LAB RATS for the manufacturers.
A large number of the Boston Scientific vaginal mesh lawsuits filed in courts throughout the United States have involved problems with their pelvic floor repair kits:
Don’t kid yourself that it is only KITS. I know many women who had mesh placed and they were NOT kits, let alone all the damage done by mesh used in hernia repair. MESH, TAPE or whatever they call it, is BAD in the human body.
So six years later I am totally disillusioned by the whole system because I now know I will never get back the $35.000 cash I used for the first surgery and all the bills that came in after it, and will never be compensated for the agony, both physical and mental. My daughter will never be compensated as my carer and there will never be money for any future surgeries. It is a win, win for everyone BUT ME!
I am also completely sure NO LAWYER will ever take my case to trial because I write this blog, regardless of all my permanent injuries. I now wonder what good would staying quiet do me or other women who have NO CLUE about what these implants can do to their bodies. I came to the conclusion that the very least I can do before my life ends is speak out and warn women of the dangers of implants and that is why I write so much.
No I am not a martyr and don’t want to be thought as one. I could care less about publicity UNLESS it raises more awareness as to what is going on with these products. I do this because I know what this feels like and I want to try to save as many women as possible MY fate! I don’t earn money doing it and I am not money oriented as a goal for writing this blog.
Now I will tell you about some of the things I miss from my old life, just six years ago.
First I whole heartedly miss living a spontaneous life. I was raised as a child living a regimented life because I was one of a large family and money was tight. However, after I married, my husband showed me a very different side to life. We traveled and we lived in many countries and any kind of strict regimen would not work for that kind of life. So I learned when it was time to pack up and move to another country, that I could do it alone and enjoy my life while doing it. I learned I could set up in a new country and learn all about it and the people while raising a young daughter. I learned I could live and be alone while my husband worked offshore and do whatever needed to be done to keep our home together. When he was home off the rig, I learned to enjoy being spontaneous every day, by going out to see how other people lived in those countries and meet new people from all walks of life. And I learned to enjoy every moment while doing it.
Now I have to plan going out and be careful of everything I do because of my injuries. Now I really miss NOT thinking about doing things before I do them. Now my life has become regimented in a very different way than in my childhood.
Before that first surgery, I had big plans and life was getting exciting. I had gone through years of my husband dying a long and slow death from dementia and going through prostate cancer treatment. I then went through years of grief because he was my love and my husband for thirty-five years. I made plans with my daughter to begin a new life and we both worked hard every day getting everything ready to begin a Bed & Breakfast establishment where we live now. That dream is gone. She cannot do it all alone and take care of a disabled woman so we won’t be doing that business in any way, shape or form. We have both faced it and know it will never happen.
I miss dressing normal. My wardrobe now consists of a walker and several walking sticks that I keep around the house. I have a special gadget if my feet get cold in winter, so I can pull a sock on my right foot. I cannot wear any kind of boots. I gave away all my nice dress shoes this year because I finally admitted I will never walk in anything other than flat leather sandals without backs. The kind of thing I can slip my right foot into without needing help. This is because of femoral nerve damage in my right leg and because I live a life of fragmented vision due to a drug called Gentamicin, used to save my life after one surgery to try to fix me. I wrote about it to let women know what could happen and you can read it here
Clothes. OMG what a change. I made all my own stylish suits in the past because I spent so many hours working with the Mayor of South Houston, promoting cultural arts for children. I taught all the kids in that small City that art was fun and could give them something to do after school and not get into trouble. I did everything as a volunteer. I spent six months painting walls in the community Center in that area and I was noted for doing it by the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Channel 11 News. You can see a video here
I always lived life in a giving way and I shared my talents but now some are no longer possible. I cannot step up on a ladder. I cannot get up or down from floor, because femoral nerve damage won’t let me put any pressure on my right leg.
I often stare out of the window wishing I could work in the garden. Plant some flowers now that it is spring here in Texas. But I can’t and I have to face that fact. Due to the nerve injury I cannot get up or down to work in soil. Due to the vision I cannot walk around outside without risk of falling on uneven ground. I feel that more problems for my daughter to deal with because of me is not an option. She has enough here already and I try to not have another injury because of something I want to do.
I miss walks on the beach or in parks. Anything outside is a nightmare because of too much bright or dark light. Sunshine really gets to me when outdoors and darkness worse yet. I have night lights everywhere to guide me at night.
Oh how I miss driving a car. Walking outside of my door and stepping into the freedom of going where I want to at any given moment, under my own steam. I had a perfect driving record of over forty years. No tickets or wrecks. This was me in my healthy days after I purchased my one and only new car. My husband’s dementia was so bad he could not remember how to fix cars and my old car was having problems. So I bought a new car for the very first time and then sold it to raise money to get out to UCLA. My plan was to get back to normal and buy another car. That will NEVER happen now due to my disabilities.
I miss visits to see my family in England. Traveling on planes, trains and buses while I am over there. Now it would be so much more difficult with the dizziness.
I know there are hundreds of thousands of disabled people in this world who live like I do. Accidents, M.S and many other crippling diseases. But none of them happened to me. MINE WAS DUE TO A MEDICAL IMPLANT and that is what is shocking about all of this.
I miss going off on my own to volunteer at schools. I loved teaching kids and showing them that they can learn in a way that make their lives more creative and fun at the same time.
I miss the carefree days when time was not my enemy. Now everything I do is all about time. How long can I stand up in my kitchen to fix myself something to eat or how much time it takes to make food for the dogs until I have to hit the couch to let the pain subside? How much time it takes to have a shower while I lean against a wall so I don’t get over dizzy. Everything I do is based on a limited time to do it.
I miss the days when I did not have to think about my bodily functions. The days when my bladder was a normal size and not severely impaired. Now it is all about how many times I have to get up at night to go to pee, because my bladder gets overfull and pushes against my damaged urethra and that causes more pain.
I miss the days without infections to worry about. Now it’s all about the antibiotics I am allergic to and what I can take to keep infections at bay. Tons of herbs and supplements are a continuous part of my life. If I take a few days off from taking them and I pay dearly and have to start over.
I miss the days when I didn’t have to think about everything before I did it. It is hard to understand that one wrong move and I get dizzy or my leg gives out. Yes it has happened in the past and I landed in the E.R and had a cast for two cracked bones in my wrist. Weeks of cast and months to get my wrist working again and I could not do anything creative to keeps my mind busy to stop thinking about what happened to me.
I miss reaching down to my right foot and doing a manicure for myself. If I try doing it now I will be rewarded with a searing pain in my right groin, so my daughter has to do it.
I miss working on my house, doing decorating and creative things to walls that was once my passion.
I miss walking a dog, like I used to before mesh and our little dog Beaux was alive.
I miss using the weed eater while Kim did all the heavy mowing so that she doesn’t have to do it all alone.
I miss fixing things in my house. Using a drill and hanging things on walls and anything else that I once did alone.
I miss taking a bath when I want to. Now I can only take a shower because I cannot get in or out of a bath tub.
I miss being able to vacuum a floor without feeling dizzy and overwhelmed. I pay dearly for doing something simple with a lot of pain in my right leg.
I miss running in the rain. Now I just get very wet as I move very slowly to the car.
I miss the days when I could just stand up and move without consequences. Now I do everything precisely and with great care.
A while back I wrote a blog telling exactly what it is like to feel like a burden after this happened to me. I don’t want or need sympathy. I am not depressed. I am not crazy. I am telling the truth about what can happen to ANY woman regardless of her age, all because of MEDICAL MESH because I want to change what is happening to so many women. You can read that blog here
If your sling was Boston Scientific, you can learn a lot by reading the pretrial order #23 in the MDL court. Just Google pretrial order 23 mesh cases and you can download the file. One of the implants, Protogen was pulled from the market back in 1999. It was mesh injected with bovine. Six other mesh slings by this manufacturer are sited in this pretrial order. It will tell you and lot and every woman should learn about her type by looking up pretrial orders concerning her brand. Down load it and save it because it will probably be gone once the manufacturer has settled the cases from this time. You need to know all you can and save it in a file.
The years when Boston Scientific six mesh slings were brought onto the market are as follows. It states this in the pre trail order.
Advantage fit, Lynx and Obtryx 2004. Prefyx 2007 and Solyx 2008. All of these were to treat stress urinary incontinence, but most were not put in for that problem. Mesh slings are put in when a woman has a hysterectomy or prolapse surgery, regardless if she needs it or not.
You should ask your lawyer if your case is in the Virginia Court MDL or in
Massachusetts where Boston Scientific has their home base. There are twenty-five hundred cases in court in their State court. The same information on that pretrial order will be used in these State trails. If you can’t find your brand of sling or mesh, read this one anyway and your eyes will be opened WIDE. This pretrial order was filed in November 2012 and it is out there now. You do not need lawyers to learn about this or Jane Akre’s site and the more you learn for yourself the better off you are. Don’t listen to bullshit. Take charge and learn for yourself.
This is a reminder that many of these claims have already settled and if you are new in realizing what has happened to you, your case is more than likely on the back burner waiting for a new round of lawsuits. Make sure you question the lawyer you sign up with. Read the following. It will tell you all the companies from this round of lawsuits and the names of manufacturers but many of these lawsuits are now closed. The following was written on a lawyers site in November 2015.
Bard: 12,257 pending claims; 12,671 total claims
· American Medical Systems: 11,152 pending claims; 19,970 total claims
· Boston Scientific: 18,253 pending claims; 19,179 total claims
· Ethicon: 28,112 pending claims; 29,167 total claims
· Coloplast: 2,121 pending claims; 2,306 total claims
· Cook Medical: 356 pending claims; 455 total claims
· Neomedic: 112 pending claims; 117 total claims
Taking the settlement offer you are given is up to you. Negotiating a better offer is up to you. Deciding to go to trial in your own State is up to you. No one should tell you what to do or put pressure on you to do anything you don’t feel is right. Think for yourself and do whatever you feel is right. In the meantime read all you can find and learn for yourself.
The truth is, EVERY woman has a story of pain and struggle and most will never be told because we are all told to say nothing. This for me allows more injuries to happen every day to unsuspecting women who do not understand what these products can do to their bodies and their doctors won’t tell them. Don’t believe the lies doctors will tell you. I wrote a blog about the ‘new’ kind of mesh they push now and what even the Mesh manufacturers themselves are saying as full disclosure. If you had an implant recently, did your doctor give YOU a pamphlet before doing this surgery? I doubt it. Believe me it is ALL THE SAME AS Mesh on the market now as in the past. Your life could be at stake. Read this blog and you will understand more