Composix Kugel will see the first of roughly 3,000 lawsuits against the company in federal court this week, involving allegations that the mesh hernia patch was defective and has led to serious injuries. The opening case in a string of lawsuits involves a Missouri man who suffered severe internal injuries allegedly as a result of the mesh patch. The suit involving plaintiff John Whitfield will be presided over by Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island. Judge Lisi will be presiding over all pretrial litigation regarding the numerous federal lawsuits against the Kugel mesh patches.
Whitfield’s case will be the first of four “bellwether” trials for the Kugel patch lawsuits. Both sides in the lawsuit and the court will be attempting to determine how juries will react to evidence and witness testimony that could be presented during the other cases against the Kugel mesh patch. Whitfield had the mesh hernia patch implanted during a January 2004 hernia repair surgery. Sometime after the patch was implanted it broke inside Whitfield’s body, causing multiple severe injuries after the broken patch intertwined with his hernia. Among Whitfield’s more severe injuries are bowel obstructions and permanent bowel disfigurement.
The problems with the Composix Kugel mesh patch began in 2002. Davol Inc, a division of C.R. Bard Inc, is responsible for manufacturing the mesh patch and began to see problems after introduction of the large and extra large models of the hernia patches. Reports began to surface that the rings in some devices were breaking inside of patients and causing injury to internal organs and tissue. The injuries most often reported included bowel perforations, bowel obstructions and chronic enteric fistulas. The Kugel mesh patch was granted FDA approval in 1996 and was designed to make hernia operations easier and lessen post-surgical pain for patients.
Davol Inc initially placed the blame for ring breakage on doctors, believing they were making mistakes while implanting the patches during hernia repair surgery. Testing later revealed, however, that the rings continually broke at the spot where they were welded together. Three recalls were issued on the mesh patches between December 2005 and January 2007 after several fatalities and more than 80 other injuries were attributed to the mesh patches.
The lawsuits filed against Davol Inc and C.R. Bard claim negligence by the manufacturers and breach of warranty and liability. Whitfield in particular is seeking compensation for his medical expenses, permanent disfigurement, and economic losses. He is also seeking punitive damages for what the lawsuit claims was either complete indifference on the part of the company or conscious disregard for the safety of others.
Whitfield’s trial is among 1,300 which have been consolidated for hearing in front of Judge Lisi. Another 1,774 lawsuits have been filed at the state level in Rhode Island with the first lawsuits set to see a courtroom in July. There are reports of individual Kugel mesh patch lawsuits being settled confidentially already, leading to the possibility of a global settlement offer to all plaintiffs.
If you or a loved one has experienced health complications, illness, or injury because of the Kugel mesh hernia patch or a related product, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with defective medical products. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.