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Pennsylvania Man Says Physiomesh is Made of Inflammatory Materials

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On September 1, 2017, a Pennsylvania man filed a Physiomesh lawsuit against manufacturer Ethicon and its parent company Johnson & Johnson. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, but was transferred to the Northern District of Georgia, as all federally-filed Physiomesh lawsuits have been consolidated there.

The man claims that after he was implanted with the Physiomesh, he suffered serious injuries. He seeks compensatory damages for pain and suffering, permanent impairment, and medical care costs, as well as economic damages including past and future, lost earnings and/or earning capacity.

Plaintiff Needed to Have Physiomesh Removed

According to his complaint, the plaintiff underwent surgery to repair a ventral (abdominal) hernia on February 20, 2013. Doctors at the Memorial Hospital in Homesdale, Pennsylvania performed the procedure. They used a 15 x 20 cm Physiomesh, a surgical tool that works like a patch over the hernia, helping to shore up and support any distended tissues, muscles, or organs.

A few years later, on March 15, 2017, the plaintiff ended up back in the hospital. He went to the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center because he was experiencing chronic abdominal pain, had a bulge in his abdomen, and had suffered “eventration” of the mesh. That means that the mesh was protruding through the abdominal wall.

Doctors decided that the mesh needed to be removed, and performed another surgery. During the procedure, one of the doctors noted “dense omental adhesions to the abdominal wall and the region of the mesh….” He also stated that he had to remove part of the abdominal lining, and actually dissect it from the overlying mesh to get all of the mesh out.

Plaintiff Claims Physiomesh is Defectively Designed

The plaintiff claims that the defendants advertised, promoted, and marketed the mesh as a safe medical device when they knew or should have known that it was not safe for its intended purposes, and that it could cause serious medical problems. He adds that the mesh was defectively designed and/or manufactured.

The FDA approved Physiomesh for the repair of abdominal hernias in 2010. Ethicon claimed that the material used to create the product was inert, but the plaintiff claims that it is actually biologically incompatible with human tissue and encourages an immune reaction that promotes degradation of the mesh and the surrounding tissue.

Physiomesh has a unique design, with the actual polypropylene mesh laminated between two layers of poliglecaprone, which is supposed to form an anti-adhesion barrier between the mesh and the body tissues. Yet poliglecaprone is known to create an inflammatory response in soft tissues, which can cause complications like organ damage, mesh migration, seroma formation, delayed wound healing, and infection, as well as others.

The plaintiff claims that the defendants had “actual knowledge of the inflammatory properties of the poligelcaprone component of the Physiomesh prior to introducing it into the stream of commerce.” He brings counts of negligence, design and manufacturing defect, failure to warn, breach of warranties, consumer fraud, gross negligence, and unjust enrichment.

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