Surgery patients harmed by hernia mesh failure in Nevada may have a negligence cause of action against the device's manufacturer. These devices have been an enormous problem across the country, culminating in multi-district litigation representing thousands of victims suffering from perforated bowels, intestinal obstruction, chronic pain, and other serious injuries.
Depending on the case, the Nevada plaintiffs in defective medical device lawsuits may be entitled to compensatory damages for:
- hospital bills and long-term care,
- lost earnings,
- loss of future earnings,
- pain and suffering, and/or
- wrongful death
Victims may also be eligible for punitive damages. And they may bring a negligence lawsuit within two (2) years of the date of the injury.
In this article, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about hernia mesh lawsuits in Nevada, including negligence claims, standards of proof, and statutes of limitations. Click on a topic to jump to that section:
- 1. What can I do if I got injured by a hernia mesh in Las Vegas, NV?
- 2. What money can I get?
- 3. Whom can I sue?
- 4. How do I prove my case?
- 5. When can I sue?
- 6. Should I file my lawsuit in Nevada or join a federal class action?
- 7. What is hernia mesh used for?
- 8. Has hernia mesh been recalled?
- 9. Resources
- 10. Related medical device litigation in Nevada
Patients who suffered injuries following surgery may be able to sue the device's manufacturer (the defendant) for negligence. Plaintiffs in negligence lawsuits have to show four things in order to win:
- The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff a duty of care;
- The defendant(s) breached this duty;
- This breach caused the plaintiff's injury; and
- This injury resulted in damages.1
A negligence lawsuit against the device's manufacturer would allege that:
- The manufacturer was negligent by designing a defective device that causes unnecessary injuries, a higher than expected fail rate, and are more dangerous than sutures;
- The manufacturer wrongfully marketed the device as a fix for small hernias, which are more safely remedied by laparoscopic operations and stitches;
- The manufacturer failed to warn doctors about the potential risks associated with the medical device; and/or
- The device moved, broke, shrank, bunched, twisted, folded, migrated, and/or was dislodged in the plaintiff's body, leading to internal injuries.
Consequently, plaintiffs would argue that these breaches in duty by the defendants caused their injuries.2
The most common complications of people with hernia mesh are:
- hernia recurrence
- infection, such as sepsis
- intestinal obstruction
- perforated bowels
- disc extrusion
- other organ damage, such as renal failure and liver problems
- chronic pain, including stomach and joint aches
- scar tissue (adhesions)
- nerve damage
- the need for reparative surgery
These complication often manifest as fatigue, neurological changes, bladder problems, bowel problems, abdominal discomfort, fever, fatigue, and even dyspareunia (painful sex).
Mesh made from animal tissues get reabsorbed by the bodies, which may lead to a recurrence; meanwhile, synthetic meshes made of polypropylene can stick to the bowel. Even meshes that have protective coating can lead to complications.3
People injured by hernia mesh may be able to recover compensatory damages for:
- All medical bills, including revision surgeries,
- Pain and suffering,
- Lost wages,
- Loss of future earnings, and/or
Punitive damages (if applicable)
If the victim passed away from device complications, his/her family can try to bring a wrongful death suit in an effort to recover money for doctor's bills, loss of contributions, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.
Victims may be able to sue the manufacturer of the particular hernia mesh. The major manufacturers and their respective devices are listed below:
Medtronic (formerly Covidien)
Common evidence includes:
- The plaintiff's medical records
- Expert medical testimony that shows how the mesh caused the plaintiff's injuries
- Promotional materials that show false or misleading claims that caused doctors to use the device when it was not the safest option
The standard of proof in negligence cases is "preponderance of the evidence." This means that plaintiffs have the burden to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant was negligent. Learn more about proving negligence in Nevada.
There is a two (2) year window following a medical device injury to bring a negligence lawsuit. But no matter how much time has passed, victims in Nevada should still seek out a consultation with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to see if it could still be possible to join an existing lawsuit.4
Most medical device lawsuits are consolidated into a "multi-district litigation" (MDL). MDLs are not class actions; instead, MDL is a more efficient way for courts to decide preliminary matters for all similar lawsuits. Then once those pretrial proceedings are done, the lawsuits return to their original courts to be resolved individually. Note that many cases get settled while they are in MDL phase.
Current multi-district litigation cases for hernia mesh victims include In Re: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh out of Georgia, and In Re: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation out of New Hampshire. In the past, manufacturer C.R. Bard paid out $184 million in 2,600 lawsuits from across the nation as part of the Composix Kugel Mesh multi-district litigation out of Rhode Island. And in March of 2018, a jury in the U.S. District Court of Northern Indiana returned a $35 million dollar verdict after finding that Ethicon was negligent in designing the Prolift surgical mesh implant. 5
The best method by which to sue a medical device manufacture turns on the specific facts of the victim's case. A Nevada personal injury attorney can help victims weigh the pros and cons of filing in state court or attempting to join a federal class action, which is where numerous plaintiffs with similar injuries join in one lawsuit.
During hernia operations, surgeons may implant meshes to help prevent a recurrence. It works by reinforcing the region where the hernia had been protruding. Meshes consist of synthetic products such as polypropylene and/or the tissue of animals.6
Some Las Vegas medical facilities that perform or have performed hernia mesh procedures in Las Vegas include:
- University Medical Center of Southern Nevada
- Horizon Specialty Hospital of Henderson
- Centennial Hills Hospital
- Valley Hospital
- Sunrise Hospital
- St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
Some have. C.R. Bard recalled Kugel Mesh many times back in 2005 to 2007 due to its association with tears to the bowel. In 2015, a federal judge forbade Atrium from making and distributing its mesh following several cases of infection. And more recently in 2016, Ethicon instructed doctors to return its Physiomesh Flexible Composite due to a comparatively high failure rate.
A shocking fact about Ethicon's Physiomesh is that there was no human testing before it went to market. It was fast-tracked through the FDA 501(k) program, which expedites the approval process for devices that are similar to others that are already approved. So arguably Physiomesh patients were unwittingly canaries in the coal mine.7
Helpful articles and information pages on medical device safety and litigation include the following:
- FDA - Safety Communication
- Clinical Trials - Laparoscopic Repairs
- Wall Street Journal - Hernia Repair Secrets
Defective medical devices are are all-too-common in Nevada and throughout the U.S., causing innocent patients to suffer chronic pain and injuries that may be irreversible. For information on how to file lawsuits for other medical device failures, visit our informational articles:
- IVC Filter lawsuits in Nevada
- Bair Hugger Warming Blanket lawsuits in Nevada
- Attune Knee Implants lawsuits in Nevada
- Essure lawsuits in Nevada
Call a Nevada personal injury attorney...
Are you suffering from having had surgery? Our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys may be able to win you a substantial financial settlement to cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income. Call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a FREE consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you pay us nothing unless we win.
- See, e.g. Scialabba v. Brandise Const. Co., 112 Nev. 965, 921 P.2d 928 (1996).
- FDA - Mesh Implants.
- NRS 11.190.
- C.R. Bard Extends Settlement in Kugel Mesh Litigation, Cision Newsire (Jul 06, 2011); Ethicon Pelvic Mesh MDL 2327 litigation (See Ethicon MDL 2327 Litigation Briefcase).
- See General Surgery News - Mesh-Free Repairs.
- See FDA -Safety Communication.