A 51-year-old Delaware woman received a verdict of $100 million after a jury found that Boston Scientific Corp. had designed faulty vaginal mesh inserts which left women in constant pain.
The verdict is the largest individual judgment thus far against Boston Scientific. In April, the company agreed to pay $119 million to settle over 3,000 claims against the manufacturer for the same issue.
The woman, Deborah Barba, was awarded $25 million in compensatory damages, and $75 million in punitive damages. Barba’s attorneys told the jury that the inserts were made from substandard materials, and shrank after they were implanted, causing organ damage, constant pain, and painful sexual intercourse.
The vaginal mesh implants were meant to help reinforce pelvic walls and prevent and treat prolapsing pelvic organs. The prolapses, usually caused by the stress of childbirth or surgery, occur when a woman’s muscles are no longer strong enough to keep an organ in place. The organs can then sag and then press into the walls of a woman’s vagina. The condition is usually repaired with surgery.
For several years, women like Barba had vaginal mesh implants put in place to strengthen the walls of the vagina and prevent prolapses from occurring. However, according to the lawsuit, the poorly-designed implants caused the flesh of the vagina to erode away, causing pain, bleeding, infections, and painful intercourse. Barba required two different surgeries to correct the problems caused by the mesh, but still has part of the device implanted which is causing constant pain.
Holding Manufacturers Responsible
When the maker of a medical device designs a product that injures the people it is supposed to heal, that manufacturer can be held responsible for damages. A manufacturer is responsible for creating a defective product when there are flaws in a product’s design, in the manufacturing process, or in how that product was marketed.
When the design of the product is defective, a manufacturer can be held responsible. A defective design means that even if the product is manufactured perfectly, its design is still flawed. In the case of Ms. Barba, her attorneys alleged that as designed, the vaginal mesh implants caused flesh inside the vagina to erode and cause serious injury. In addition, not only were the devices designed poorly, but the jury found that Boston Scientific had engaged in fraud by hiding the design flaws from doctors.
When a product is designed well, but is still defective, a manufacturing error may be to blame. For example, a pharmaceutical company may have designed an effective drug, but an error in the manufacturing process could lead to a bad batch. The manufacturer would still be responsible for the bad batch of medication even if the product would have been effective if not for the error.
Finally, some products are going to be dangerous no matter what anyone does. A drug or medical device may have certain side effects which are unavoidable. However, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to warn doctors and patients about these risks so that the patient can make an informed decision about his or her health. When manufacturers fail to warn patients of potential risks, that company can be held responsible for any damages the product causes.
Women like Ms. Barba have a right to expect that when their doctor recommends a course of treatment, the device used will help and not harm them. When companies like Boston Scientific manufacture poorly designed medical devices using substandard materials, and fail to warn patients and doctors about the risks, they deserve to lose massive verdicts to the people they hurt.
At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., we work to help the victims of defective medical products and fight to get them justice after an injury. If you were harmed by a defective product, or were never told about the potential risks and side effects of a treatment, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages for your injuries.
For a free consultation with a Los Angeles defective products lawyer, call (310) 289-2600 or use our online contact form to have your case reviewed today.