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On May 22, 2017, a Tennessee man filed a Physiomesh lawsuit against manufacturer Ethicon and parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J). The plaintiff claims that after being implanted with Physiomesh to repair a hernia, he suffered from serious injuries. His case was filed in the Western District of Tennessee, but will likely be transferred to the Northern District of Georgia where all federally filed cases are being coordinated.

Plaintiff Undergoes Three Surgeries with Physiomesh

According to his complaint, the plaintiff was implanted with a Physiomesh device on July 8, 2013. His surgeon used the mesh product during a procedure to repair an incisional hernia. The plaintiff went through a second hernia repair on December 29, 2014, where the Physiomesh was again implanted and on September 12, 2016, underwent another repair.

The last procedure lasted two hours. Surgeons found that the Physiomesh that had been previously implanted failed to work as expected. It showed “fatigue of the mesh resulting in a large incisional hernia and extensive adhesions.” The surgeon had to remove the mesh.

The plaintiff states that since he was first implanted with a Physiomesh, he has suffered severe abdominal pain that has interfered with his ability to work and perform his daily activities. He still has to have follow-up treatment for the pain and complications and may face additional surgeries in the future.

Incisional Hernias Occur After Abdominal Surgery

An incisional hernia is a type of hernia or bulge that is caused by an old surgical wound that hasn’t healed correctly. An incision made in a prior abdominal surgery weakens the muscle. If the area doesn’t heal properly, a gap may open up in that weakened muscle, and tissues may start poking through the opening, creating a bulge or a hernia.

In mild cases, the hernia may not be particularly visible to the naked eye, but it is likely to be felt under the skin. In more severe cases, it may become larger, as muscles and some nearby organs move through the gap. Patients who gain weight after abdominal surgery, become pregnant, or participate in heavy lifting are most at risk for this type of hernia.

If the hernia remains small, doctors may suggest simply leaving it alone. If it enlarges, however, or causes pain or discomfort, surgery is often necessary to repair it. Doctors typically use laparoscopic methods for repair, making small incisions, tucking the tissues back in place, and closing the gap. They may use sutures to close it, or if sutures aren’t enough, may implant a mesh graft like a Physiomesh to “patch” it.

Plaintiff Claims Physiomesh Defectively Designed

The plaintiff claims that while Ethicon advertised their Physiomesh as being safe and effective, it was not. The product was defectively designed, according to him, and created an unreasonable risk of severe adverse reactions including chronic pain, recurrence of hernia, rejection, infection, migration, improper wound healing, inflammation, erosion, and more.

He adds that the multi-layer coating on the mesh prevents fluid from escaping, increasing the risk of seroma formation (pockets of fluid), which in turn increases the risk of infection and other complications.

The plaintiff brings counts of defective design, failure to warn, negligence, breach of warranties, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, unjust enrichment, gross negligence, and more, and seeks in excess of $75,000 in damages.

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