Ethicon Says Fla. Pelvic Mesh Suit Was Filed Too Late

Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc. tried to fight off a suit over an allegedly defective pelvic mesh product by telling a Florida federal judge  that the plaintiff knew something was wrong not long after her surgery and waited too long to sue.

In a Zoom hearing before U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, Ethicon’s attorney Andrew Kruppa told the court that in order for plaintiff Adelheid Pirlein’s lawsuit, filed Aug. 6, 2012, to be timely, she could not have known that something was wrong with her pelvic mesh before Aug. 6, 2008.

But Kruppa said Pirlein was complaining to her doctor about bleeding and stress urinary incontinence in May 2008, just a few weeks after her March 9, 2008, surgery.

But Judge Cannon pointed out that while Pirlein might have known something was wrong, she may not have thought at that point that the device was defective.

Pirlein had Ethicon’s Gynecare Prolift Pelvic Floor Repair System and Gynecare TVT Obturator System surgically implanted in March 2008 to fix her pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence issues.

But the surgery did not fix the stress of urinary incontinence and caused vaginal bleeding. Pirlein’s doctor found that the mesh had become exposed, and she was prescribed silver nitrate and estrogen cream. After that did not work, she had corrective surgery on Aug. 6, 2008, according to court documents.

Pirlein said in her suit that she has endured “significant mental and physical pain and suffering,” is injured permanently and has suffered financial loss. She is asking for compensatory and punitive damages.


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