No patient wants to hear that they need to undergo surgery in order to correct their medical condition but the majority accept that this is the course of action that needs to occur in order to feel better. Patients expect many things when it comes to surgery - they may experience fear, physical discomfort, and exhaustion while healing. What they don’t expect to experience is further damage and continued suffering caused by a defective medical device.
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A medical device manufacturing company, C.R. Bard, was recently dealt a major loss when a jury not only sided with a plaintiff but also determined that punitive damages should be awarded to that plaintiff.
According to court documents, the plaintiff, a 62-year-old woman, underwent surgery to correct a pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. During her procedure, her surgeons implanted two types of mesh, Align and Avaulta, both manufactured by C.R. Bard.
Soon after her surgery, the plaintiff began to experience severe pain and loss of bladder function. After undergoing numerous medical tests, her doctors determined that not only was the mesh too large for her but that it had caused extensive damage to her tissue. To make matters worse, removal was not simple. It took another three surgeries for physicians to remove both devices and those surgeries required extensive dissections in her groin.
The devices and subsequent surgeries caused extensive scar tissue and chronic inflammation. The patient continues to suffer from urinary incontinence, experiences chronic pain, and is unable to have intercourse with her husband without substantial pain.
She chose to file a lawsuit so that she could recover compensation for her medical expenses and physical pain. She also hoped to bring national awareness to the serious complications associated with the mesh products - complications she alleges that C.R. Bard knew could occur due to defects in their product.
During the trial, the plaintiff's legal team argued that C.R. Bard was fully aware of the risks associated with their mesh. One of the witnesses that they called to the stand was marketing professional for the team which developed the mesh, and he testified that even he knew that vaginal erosion and chronic pain were potential side effects, so the manufacturers had to be aware.
After hearing all statements, the jury deliberated and determined that C.R. Bard was liable for the damage caused to the plaintiff. They awarded her $33 million in compensatory damages and another $35 million in punitive damages.
When a plaintiff is awarded compensatory damages, this is the compensation that is intended to help them recover from their losses, including:
Compensation should cover both past and anticipated future losses.
Punitive damages are awarded when the judge/jury feels that the defendant acted in a particularly egregious manner and that they should face some punishment for what they’ve done. These damages are in addition to the compensatory damages.
If you’ve been hurt by the side effects of a medical device you may be able to file a lawsuit. To find out if you have a case and how much you might be owed, call our team of experienced lawyers. We will review your case and then explain all the legal options available to you.
Keep in mind that a statute of limitations applies in all lawsuits and if you wait too long you may lose the chance to obtain compensation forever. Do hesitate - call us now.