LOS ANGELES — In the face of over 25,000 federal and state lawsuits, Boston Scientific agreed to settle one of the first federal trials it’s facing, this time in a California court.
In the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the transvaginal mesh manufacturer agreed to settle the bellwether case one week after the trial started. This case was the 6th federal trial Boston Scientific has faced. The settlement is confidential so we don’t know the exact amount offered.
The decision to settle comes in light of the company losing multiple large verdict cases in state and federal court. Boston Scientific is one of the largest makers of the now heavily maligned medical device, transvaginal mesh.
Transvaginal Mesh: A Dangerous Device
Transvaginal mesh, also known as a bladder sling, is a type of netting that can be implanted into the body permanently. It is used to treat stress urinary incontinence and other pelvic disorders, specifically pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is when the muscles of the pelvis are extremely weak – often due to childbirth or a hysterectomy – and are unable to hold the neighboring organs in place. The organs (usually the bladder, rectum, uterus) then fall into the vaginal cavity. Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary release of urine during physical activity such as exercise.
The mesh looks to support the muscles and prevent the conditions. Unfortunately, it has been found to not only to cause pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence, but also other health problems. Pain, internal scarring, bleeding, sexual problems, infection, and nerve damage are some of the complications. This is due to the fact that the mesh moves out of place or breaks off into pieces. The pieces then perforate the neighboring uterine walls or organs. Women have been left permanently injured by the device, despite having corrective surgery to remove the mesh.
Boston Scientific has also recently agreed to settle under approximately 3,000 federal cases. The company agreed to a $119 million settlement. The existence of this settlement, however, does not impede the progress of other state or federal cases, nor does it prevent new victims of Boston Scientific’s transvaginal mesh products from pursuing litigation.
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