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On January 14, 2019, a Louisiana married couple filed a new Ethicon hernia lawsuit against manufacturers Ethicon, Inc., and parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J). They claim that after being implanted with the Proceed hernia mesh, the wife suffered from serious injuries.

Plaintiff Implanted with Proceed Mesh to Repair Ventral Hernia

According to the complaint, the plaintiff went through surgery to repair a hernia on January 12, 2018, at the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center in Natchitoches, Louisiana. During the surgery, the surgeon implanted a Proceed surgical mesh to help support the hernia repair and provide for a more lasting solution.

Ethicon describes its Proceed mesh as a macroporous, tissue-separating mesh that can be used in open and minimally invasive ventral hernia repairs. A ventral hernia is a bulge of tissues and/or intestines that protrudes through an opening or weakness in the abdominal wall muscles. It can occur anywhere from just below the breastbone to the belly button and may develop at the site of previous surgery. Symptoms can include pain in the abdomen, particularly when lifting or straining.

Ventral hernias may be caused by weakness in the abdominal wall at a previous incision site, or weakness caused by obesity, frequent coughing, pregnancy, severe vomiting, history of lifting or pushing heavy objects, straining during bowel movements, or injuries to the bowel area.

Ethicon claims on their website that the Proceed mesh inhibits bacterial growth to protect against mesh contamination, and allows for safe and comfortable healing. The plaintiff, however, states that as a result of being implanted with the mesh, she suffered injuries including pain, infection, and bowel perforation, and had to go through additional reparative surgery.

On January 13, 2018, the plaintiff went through a second surgery to remove the Proceed surgical mesh.

Plaintiff Blame Complications on Design of Proceed Mesh

The plaintiff claims that the design of the mesh is faulty, and causes problems in hernia repairs. Specifically, she notes that one layer has a tendency to separate from the mesh, leading to seroma (pocket of fluid) formation. The layers also allegedly tend to harbor bacteria, allowing an infection to proliferate. When one layer degrades, the human body is exposed to the polypropylene mesh, and “polypropylene is toxic when inserted into the human body,” the complaint reads.

The immune system attacks the mesh as a foreign substance, promoting inflammation and swelling and additional complications. The plaintiff adds that the lightweight mesh is “weak and more prone to tearing and blow-outs.”

The mesh can also become embedded in human tissue, which makes removal more difficult, as the removal can cause additional damage. The plaintiff brings counts of design defect, construction or composition defect, inadequate warnings, and breach of warranties.

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