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John G. Heyburn II, Chairman for the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, signed an order that all federal Coloplast transvaginal mesh lawsuits be consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). When cases are consolidated as part of an MDL, the cases are transferred to the same judge who is already presiding over other transvaginal mesh MDLs. This makes the fifth transvaginal Mesh MDL formed.

According to this order, a panel of federal judges found that the thirteen actions involve common questions of fact. Centralizing the cases in the Southern District of West Virginia will serve as a convenient location for all of the parties and witnesses. It will also promote efficiency of the transvaginal mesh litigation. The order also states, “Centralization is consistent with our recent decision creating separate pelvic repair product MDLs involving [other] defendants…” Judge Goodwin is overseeing four other MDLs. They were established for American Medical System lawsuits, Bard Avaulta lawsuits, Boston Scientific pelvic mesh lawsuits, and Ethicon/Gynecare mesh lawsuits.

In the U.S. District Courts throughout the U.S., there are at least 24 lawsuits over the Coloplast Mesh filed. Nine of those complaints involve other transvaginal mesh products that are pending before Judge Goodwin. This process is standard. Creating MDLs helps the litigation process run smoother, especially with reducing duplicative discovery as well as avoiding different rulings from different judges.

As more people become aware of the complications with transvaginal mesh implants, the number of lawsuits continues to rise. A July 2011 FDA alert warns of serious complications associated with transvaginal mesh patches when implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The FDA has received more than 3,800 reports of adverse effects caused by the surgical mesh or during implantation of the patch.

The New England Journal of Medicine published research in a 2011 study showing an increased risk of complications associated with transvaginal mesh implants. Compared to colporrhaphy, a traditional treatment of POP, surgical mesh had a higher risk of defect including: 7 times the risk of bladder perforation; Nearly twice the risk of urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control); and 3.2 percent of women required follow-up surgery to correct problems.

If you have suffered complications due to the implantation of a transvaginal patch to treat POP, you are not alone, and you have a right to compensation. By filing a claim against the surgical mesh manufacturer, you could receive compensation for medical costs, other financial burdens and the pain and suffering caused by this defective medical device. You will also send a clear message to the manufacturer that it is unacceptable to sell medical devices that harm innocent people.

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