Table of Contents
Legal Intake Services and Hernia Mesh Implants: A Comprehensive Source of Information
When providing legal intake services, first impressions matter.
From the moment a potential client contacts an intake specialist, his or her experience during the intake process can make or break their decision to choose your firm to handle the case. Effective legal intake services are not just about gathering information; it’s about creating a positive and lasting impression that instills confidence in your firm’s ability to handle their case. By prioritizing client satisfaction and retention through a comprehensive and well-executed intake process, you can set the stage for a successful attorney-client relationship.
Hernia mesh litigation has become increasingly prevalent as patients who have experienced complications from hernia mesh implants seek compensation for their injuries.
In this article, we will explore information legal intake specialists could use to improve mass tort case acquisition for hernia mesh implant lawsuits. Imparting accurate and relevant information can enhance client satisfaction and retention. It is common knowledge that providing details on what prospective claimants may expect, the litigation process, and actively listening to clients’ needs and concerns can ensure a seamless and client-centric intake experience. Join us as we uncover the secrets to maximizing client satisfaction and retention through hernia mesh legal intake.
Basics of Hernia Mesh Legal Intake: Understanding Hernia Mesh Complications and Litigation
Hernia mesh is a surgical implant used to repair hernias and provide support to weakened or damaged tissue, usually in the stomach or groin area. Unfortunately, some patients have experienced complications from the mesh, including severe pain, infection, mesh migration, organ perforation, and the need for additional surgeries (i.e., revision surgeries).
These complications have led to an increase in hernia mesh litigation and patients filing lawsuits against mesh manufacturers with the help of a legal intake call center. They argue that the companies failed to warn them of the potential risks and provided defective products. Successful litigation can result in compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Understanding the intricate landscape of hernia mesh litigation involves tracing a sequence of events that has unfolded over time, shaped by the actions of key manufacturers. Beginning with the chronological order of recalls, notable instances include C.R. Bard’s recall of certain Kugel mesh patches due to defects that could potentially cause bowel perforations or chronic fistulas. Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary faced its own challenges with recalls, such as the Physiomesh withdrawal after studies revealed higher rates of revision surgeries. Covidien, a subsidiary of Medtronic, also came under scrutiny with the recall of Parietex hernia mesh due to delamination issues.
These recalls led to a cascade effect, prompting the consolidation of cases against each manufacturer. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) played a pivotal role in selecting Multidistrict Litigations (MDLs) for efficient management. For example, the MDL for C.R. Bard’s hernia mesh cases centralized proceedings, allowing for consistent pretrial processes across the country. Similarly, MDLs were established for Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon and Covidien cases, streamlining the litigation process.
Once MDLs were established, the litigation advanced to scheduling and conducting bellwether trials. These trials, often drawn from a pool of representative cases, provide a tangible perspective on potential case outcomes. For instance, bellwether trials in the Ethicon Physiomesh MDL offered insights into how juries might respond to evidence and arguments. In the Bard MDL, bellwether cases like the Davol, Inc., Polypropylene Hernia Mesh Trial resulted in substantial verdicts, influencing subsequent negotiations and strategies.
The influence of bellwether trials is palpable in the subsequent trajectory of settlements. The Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary, after facing adverse outcomes in bellwether trials, initiated settlement talks to resolve a significant portion of cases. Similarly, C.R. Bard announced a settlement plan after facing mounting pressure following unfavorable verdicts in key trials. The outcomes of these bellwether trials serve as catalysts for reassessing positions and recalibrating strategies, steering the course of hernia mesh litigation.
A Comprehensive Overview of Hernia Types Handled by a Legal Intake Call Center
Hernia mesh implants can be used on the following types of hernias:
- Abdominal Hernias: These hernias are located along the walls of the abdomen and can result from various causes, including heavy lifting, obesity, and chronic coughing. Abdominal hernias may cause pain, swelling, or a bulging area in the affected region, and can require surgery if complications arise.
- Inguinal Hernias: Found in the groin area, inguinal hernias are the most common type, affecting both men and women according to a legal call center. They occur when soft tissue, usually part of the intestine or fatty tissue, protrudes through a weak spot in the lower abdominal muscles. Inguinal hernias can cause discomfort or pain during certain activities like bending over or lifting objects.
- Incisional Hernias: Occurring at the site of a previous injury or surgery, incisional hernias are the second most common type and can develop due to weakened tissue. They can appear weeks, months, or even years after an operation and may cause localized pain or discomfort. Treatment often involves surgical repair to reinforce the weakened area.
- Umbilical Hernias: Typically centered around the belly button, umbilical hernias happen when a small part of the intestine pushes through weakened abdominal muscles. They are more common in infants but can also occur in adults. While many umbilical hernias close on their own as a child grows, some may require surgical intervention if complications arise.
- Hiatal Hernias: Affecting the upper part of the stomach, hiatal hernias occur when the stomach pushes up through an opening in the diaphragm known as the hiatus. This type of hernia is more common in people over 50 years old and can cause symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty swallowing. Treatment for hiatal hernias may include lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery in severe cases.
- Femoral Hernias: Located at the upper thigh, around the outer groin or labia, femoral hernias are more common in women and involve intestinal tissue pushing through a weak spot in the surrounding muscle. These hernias can cause severe pain and complications if left untreated. Surgical intervention is often required to repair the hernia and prevent further complications.
Documentation Legal Intake Services May Help Retrieve for A Claimant’s Hernia Mesh Case
A legal intake center can help gather critical documentation to build a strong case for a claimant’s hernia mesh complications. The following documents are typically retrieved by the participating law firm. But often, a legal intake center may be able to retrieve some of these items, which may expedite the claims process. Prepping the claimant about these items may encourage them to obtain them without involving the medical record retrieval team, thus increasing efficiencies and lowering legal expenses.
- Medical records: The legal intake center can request copies of medical records related to the hernia mesh surgery, including pre-operative evaluations, surgical reports, and post-operative follow-ups.
- Medicine bottles: It is beneficial to the participating law firm to obtain images of a claimant’s medicine bottles for prescriptions of medications related to treating ailments that resulted from a hernia mesh implant. For example, we often come across claimants whose doctors prescribed gabapentin, which is administered for nerve pain (and other reasons). The medicine bottle will include the claimant’s name, prescribing doctor, pharmacy, and often the reason for the medication. This level of detail may help strengthen the claimant’s case for past and future pain and suffering.
- Imaging studies: The center may obtain any imaging studies (e.g., X-rays, CT scans, MRIs) that show the hernia mesh and any related complications.
- Product information: The legal intake center may attempt to gather the product label, packaging, or any other information about the hernia mesh used in your surgery. Product labels often are about the size of two or three postage stamps, and a cursory review of medical records may reveal the manufacturer and brand. Having this information may be invaluable during the qualification process.
- Expense records: The center can suggest the claimant compile records of the claimant’s medical expenses, including hospital bills, prescription costs, and any other costs related to hernia mesh complications.
- Employment and wage information: If a claimant lost wages due to hernia mesh implant complications, the legal intake center can assist in obtaining documentation of income and any time missed from work.
Common Hernia Mesh Complications Encountered by a Legal Call Center
A legal call services may encounter various types of complications reported by patients who have undergone hernia mesh implant surgery. Many of these complications are associated with recalled hernia mesh products.
- Extreme abdominal pain: Hernia mesh implants may cause severe abdominal pain, which could be a sign of adhesions, bowel obstruction, nerve damage, or infection. Patients experiencing this type of pain may require further medical intervention or even surgical removal of the mesh.
- Leg, groin, and testicular pain: Many patients experience extensive leg, groin, and testicular pain due to hernia mesh. Some patients have experienced numbness in the testicular area and have had one removed. These complications often stem from inguinal hernias being repaired with mesh and can significantly impact a patient’s daily life and overall well-being.
- Painful sex and erectile dysfunction: Mesh implants could cause pain during sexual intercourse as the mesh interferes with the spermatic cord. This has resulted in the removal of testicles for some patients. Additionally, the occurrence of erectile dysfunction due to hernia mesh from inguinal hernia among men, especially from mesh repairs, is a potential issue that can severely affect a patient’s quality of life.
- Infection: There are different reasons for hernia mesh implants causing infections. Staphylococcus is the most common pathogen involved with infected mesh implants. Chronic mesh infections often require removal of the mesh because antibiotics and mesh-saving surgeries are not sufficient. MRSA can also be found in infected implants, further complicating treatment.
- Bowel obstruction: Inguinal hernia repair is among the most common types of hernia mesh revision surgeries. Small bowel obstruction is a specific problem related to laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs, which can lead to severe pain, nausea, and other complications if not treated promptly.
- Adhesions: Laparoscopic procedures from abdominal surgery increase the risk of adhesions due to mesh implants. Abdominal adhesions occur when fibrous tissue develops between abdominal tissues and organs, or fistulas form between the mesh and organs. Ethicon removed their Physiomesh hernia mesh implant from the market due to this complication. Adhesions to the bowel could also occur, further complicating a patient’s recovery.
- Migration: Hernia mesh migration occurs when the mesh moves from its original location, potentially causing damage to surrounding tissues and organs. This can result in chronic pain, infection, or perforation of organs, often necessitating further surgery to remove or replace the mesh.
- Perforation of Bowel, Intestines, or Other Organs: Hernia mesh implants can sometimes lead to punctures or perforations in the bowel, intestines, abdominal wall, or other organs. When this happens, it can create a serious medical emergency as fecal matter and bacteria can enter the abdominal cavity, leading to peritonitis and sepsis. If not promptly treated, sepsis can be life-threatening. Furthermore, patients experiencing perforation may require additional surgeries to repair damaged tissues and remove or replace the problematic mesh.
In conclusion, a legal intake services may encounter various complications reported by patients who have undergone hernia mesh implant surgery. These complications are often associated with recalled hernia mesh products. These complications can significantly impact a patient’s daily life and overall well-being, and may require further medical intervention or surgical removal of the mesh. It is important for a legal call center to be knowledgeable about these complications and provide appropriate guidance and support to patients seeking legal assistance. The more a legal call center can understand the health complications claimants are enduring, the more they can understand and empathize with the claimant’s pain and suffering.
Hernia Mesh Brands and Manufacturers Legal Intake Services Should Know
As hernia mesh litigation has become more prevalent, it’s important that legal intake services become familiar with the common brands and manufacturers associated with these cases. The following is a list of some well-known hernia mesh products and their respective manufacturers legal intake centers should know:
- Atrium C-QUR Mesh: Manufactured by Atrium Medical Corporation, the C-QUR Mesh is a polypropylene mesh coated with Omega 3 fatty acid (fish oil). It has been associated with complications such as infection, adhesions, and bowel obstruction. In December 2016, the cases for this brand were consolidated by the JPML with the first bellwether trial set for July 2021. However, Atrium reportedly agreed to a $66 million settlement that prevented the trial from being pursued.
- R. Bard Davol Mesh: Manufactured by C.R. Bard Inc., the Bard Davol line includes several hernia mesh products like Kugel, PerFix Plug, Ventralex ST, Composix E/X, and 3DMax. These meshes have been linked to complications including organ perforation, infection, and chronic pain.
- Kugel Mesh: In 2011, C.R. Bard paid over $184 million to settle more than 2,600 Kugel mesh lawsuits. Further bellwether trials are expected to provide insight into potential outcomes and settlements for other Bard Davol mesh products.
- PerFix Plug: This mesh is manufactured by Bard in conjunction with their subsidiary, Davol. Allegedly, the PerFix Plug design was defective and the product was never properly tested before being introduced to the marketplace. Hence, lawsuits were being filed often for those who are in chronic pain and many for men who have had a testicle removed. The parties previously selected a Bard PerFix Plug lawsuit filed by Robert Stinson, Jr. for the next trial date, which is scheduled to begin in October 2023.
- Ventralex ST: Another product of mesh manufactured by C.R. Bard which has been named in hernia mesh lawsuits, and is included in the Bard Davol MDL (Multidistrict Litigation) established in 2018. In April 2022, a jury awarded Antonio Milanesi $255,000, with $5,000 of the verdict awarded for loss of consortium. In his lawsuit, Milanesi said his Ventralex ST hernia mesh was defective and caused a bowel abscess and infection. The product has also been subject to a “silent recall” by Bard due to complications. The verdict in the Milanesi trial was expected to have a meaningful impact on the settlement payouts for other victims involved in the hernia mesh litigation against Bar and for legal intake services.
- Composix E/X: This product has been manufactured by C.R. Bard and has been the subject of thousands of lawsuits. The mesh was defectively designed with a memory coil ring that was prone to breaking and causing complications, including mesh erosion, mesh shrinkage, infection, chronic pain, adhesion, bowel obstruction, and perforation.
- Covidien Parietex Composite Mesh: Produced by Covidien (now Medtronic), the Parietex Composite Mesh is made from polyester fibers coated with collagen. This mesh has been associated with complications such as infection, migration, bowel obstruction, and recurrence of hernias. While there have not been any bellwether trials or large-scale settlements specific to Parietex Composite Mesh yet, Covidien has faced numerous individual lawsuits related to this product. On August 6, 2020, a plaintiff underwent a laparascopy, during the procedure it was noted that the mesh had “tightly adherent” omentum “stuck to it.” The small bowel was also described as “stuck” to the mesh and “wrapped up in the mesh omentum matrix,” which caused an obstruction. This surgery showed that the design defects in this mesh caused complications.
- Ethicon Physiomesh: A product of Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Physiomesh was voluntarily withdrawn from the market in 2016 due to higher rates of recurrence and reoperation compared to other meshes. Complications linked to Physiomesh include adhesions, migration, infection, and organ perforation. As of March 2023, the Georgia Northern District Court oversaw 1,455 pending lawsuits regarding this product. Last May 24, a joint motion was filed to have a group of 161 cases dismissed with prejudice, as a reported settlement to resolve the claims related to these implants. However, no details on individual settlement payouts were disclosed.
- Gore-Tex DualMesh: Manufactured by W.L. Gore & Associates Inc., Gore-Tex DualMesh is a synthetic mesh made from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). This material has been associated with complications such as infection, erosion into organs or tissues (fistula formation), adhesions, and chronic pain. Although there have been individual lawsuits filed against W.L. Gore & Associates regarding DualMesh complications, currently there have not yet been any large-scale settlements or bellwether trials related to this product.
Some of the most high-profile hernia mesh recalls in recent years was manufactured by Ethicon. Bard’s polypropylene hernia mesh, Ethicon’s Physiomesh, and Atrium’s C-QUR brands are all the subject of separate multidistrict litigations (MDLs). C.R. Bard is defending over 18,000 hernia mesh lawsuits alleging that its mesh devices were defective and resulted in injuries and complications for thousands of hernia surgery patients. These are the current major players of hernia mesh MDL lawsuits who has not yet reach a settlement.
It is helpful for legal intake services to be aware of these brands and manufacturers when assessing potential hernia mesh cases, as some products have been recalled or are the subject of ongoing litigation. Identifying the specific mesh product used in a client’s surgery can help determine if they may have a viable claim and may assist in building a strong case.
Legal Spotlight: Bard Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Nears Pivotal October 2023 Bellwether Trial
As the hernia mesh litigation landscape evolves, the upcoming bellwether trial involving C.R. Bard takes center stage. Set to begin on October 16, 2023, this trial will play a crucial role in determining the direction of thousands of pending lawsuits concerning polypropylene hernia mesh complications associated with products such as Bard Ventralight, Ventralex, and 3DMax.
Judge Sargus, who has overseen two previous Bard hernia mesh trials, has already experienced varying outcomes. The first trial concluded with a defense verdict in August 2021, while the second, held in April 2022, resulted in a $255,000 verdict.
Presently, attention is focused on two bellwether trials: the Bard PerFix Plug lawsuit brought forth by Robert Stinson Jr., slated for October 2023, and the Bard 3DMax lawsuit led by Jacob Bryan, scheduled for January 2024. Although Judge Sargus denied Bard’s attempts to replace these selections and acknowledged changes in the case schedule, the main trial start date remains unchanged. While the results of these trials will not be legally binding for other plaintiffs, they are expected to significantly influence negotiation dynamics and potentially reshape settlement discussions and recalculations.
Exploring Damages When Providing Legal Intake Services for Hernia Mesh Implant Claimants
Victims of hernia mesh complications may be eligible to pursue compensation for the damages they have suffered as a result of their injuries. These damages aim to provide relief and financial support to individuals and their families affected by hernia mesh complications. The following categories outline the types of damages that may be explained to claimants during the legal intake process, and can be pursued in a hernia mesh lawsuit:
- Pain and suffering: This category covers both physical pain and emotional distress resulting from hernia mesh complications. Compensation for pain and suffering takes into account the severity of the pain, the duration of the suffering, and the impact on the victim’s overall quality of life.
- Medical bills: Victims may seek compensation for medical expenses related to their hernia mesh complications. This can include costs for surgeries, hospital stays, medications, physical therapy, as well as any future medical treatments required to address ongoing issues or complications.
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity: If a victim is unable to work due to their hernia mesh complications, they may be able to pursue damages for lost wages. Additionally, if the complications have permanently impacted their ability to earn a living or advance in their career, they can seek compensation for loss of future earning capacity.
- Loss of consortium or loss of love and affection: In some cases, hernia mesh complications can severely impact a victim’s personal relationships, particularly with their spouse or partner. Loss of consortium refers to the negative effects on a marital relationship caused by the victim’s injuries, including loss of love, companionship, affection, and intimacy.
- Wrongful death: If a loved one has died as a result of hernia mesh complications, surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. This type of claim seeks compensation for damages such as funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional suffering caused by the loss of a loved one.
Conclusion: Enhancing Legal Intake Services for Successful Hernia Mesh Implant Claimants
Entering into hernia mesh litigation can be a daunting process, but with the right preparation and documentation, prospective claimants can have a positive experience with your legal intake service. By being thorough, organized, and proactive, you can help your participating law firm build a strong case and maximize its chances of receiving the compensation the client deserves for his or her injuries.
In addition to providing necessary documentation, it’s essential to stay informed about the types of hernia mesh complications and specific products involved in lawsuits. Understanding the process, bellwether trials, and settlements associated with these products will help improve your legal intake service manage client expectations and better prepare them for potential outcomes. Moreover, maintaining open communication with your participating attorney and the legal intake center is crucial to ensure that all relevant information is shared and considered. By following these recommendations, your legal intake services will be well-equipped to navigate the complex process of hernia mesh litigation and achieve the best possible outcome for prospective claimants’ cases.