NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–A Johnson & Johnson (J&J) unit on December 14 was ordered to pay $15 million to a woman implanted with its faulty transvaginal mesh product, nine years back.
Elizabeth Hrymoc, 71, had sued Somerville-based Ethicon, whose parent company is J&J, which has been located in Hub City since 1886.
The award approved by the jury included $4 million in compensatory damages for the plaintiff, $1 million for her husband, and $10 million in punitive damages.
“Unfortunately, her injuries are permanent,” Hrymoc’s attorney Adam Slater told Philly.com regarding the New Jersey resident’s predicament.
“One of the fundamental and horrific defects with this device is the inability to successfully treat complications, and Elizabeth is a clear illustration of what happened to countless other women.”
The jury reportedly ruled that Ethicon should have provided sufficient warning about the possibility of injury connected to the product and its thermoplastic polymer mesh.
The case marked the second pelvic mesh trial in NJ; just one of some 9,000 cases around the nation centering on J&J’s medical devices.
A few months earlier, “a Philadelphia jury awarded $57 million to a Pennsylvania woman who required three operations to remove the implants which left her chronically incontinent,” reported Philly.com.
Hrymoc’s case was heard in Bergen County Superior Court, but J&J says they are appealing the verdict to a higher court.
“Ethicon intends to appeal this verdict, as we believe that the evidence showed that the company appropriately informed surgeons of pertinent complications and that the products were properly designed and studied,” said J&J spokeswoman, Mindy Tinsley, in a statement.
The first NJ case resulted in an $11 million award. J&J subsequently appealed it to the NJ Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case after it was upheld by the Appellate Division.
Hrymoc “had two mesh implants made by the Ethicon division of J&J – Prolift, a large multi-armed mesh implant used to hold up sagging internal organs, and a TVT-O, used to support a urethra to treat stress urinary incontinence,” according to MeshNewsDesk, an online outlet that say it investigates “issues behind the headlines concerning medical devices and surgical mesh.”
Only one of the two Ethicon products is still sold and Prolift was quietly taken off the market in 2012, according to the report.
The jury determined that Prolift had been defectively designed and that J&J failed to warn of its risks, and failed to warn of the risks of TVT-O, according to MeshNewsDesk’s, Jane Akre.
“Ms. Hrymoc underwent three revision/removal surgeries but the last one had to be stopped midway through because she lost too much blood and needed transfusions,” reported Akre. “Now she lives with chronic pain, mesh erosion and dyspareunia. The arms of the Prolift were banded, evidence showed.”
“I want to talk about the women who have shown courage and resolve – this verdict is for them!” Slater told MeshNewsDesk. “Elizabeth Hrymoc always made it clear she was going to trial for the other women still in the court system waiting for their trials and settlements or for the opportunity to go to trial.”
“This outcome gives hope their time will come.”
Dave is an award-winning business reporter who has authored over 200 articles for New Brunswick Today.