Transvaginal Mesh Device Maker Fails to Derail California Woman’s Defect Lawsuit

One of several “bellwether” cases in a massive federal action against the maker of a transvaginal mesh device cleared an important hurdle when a judge refused to dismiss a California patient’s claim. Although the woman had her device implanted nearly three years before she sued, the evidence was conflicting regarding how long she knew about the device’s defect, which prevented the device maker from achieving dismissal based upon California’s statute of limitations.

Doctors at the Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria implanted a transvaginal mesh device into Roseanne Sanchez in early 2010 to treat her cystocele, stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Almost immediately after surgery, Sanchez began noticing symptoms, including discolored discharge, itching and cramping. Despite multiple follow-up surgeries to remove portions of the mesh, the patient’s symptoms did not improve. According to Sanchez, her doctors never told her that her difficulties were the result of a defect in the device. Only after the patient saw a television commercial for transvaginal mesh litigation in 2011, and retained legal counsel, did she learn that her device was defective.

In November 2012, Sanchez joined a group of thousands of users of the device to sue the product’s maker, Boston Scientific. The manufacturer asked a federal judge to dismiss Sanchez’s case, contending that Sanchez waited too long to sue. Boston Scientific argued that the patient’s symptoms, along with her four revision surgeries, should have been enough to make her aware of her potential claim. Because each of these events occurred before November 2010, and California law gives injured people two years to sue for their injuries, the patient’s lawsuit was not timely, the company asserted in its motion.

The patient, on the other hand, argued that she believed, based on information provided by her doctor, that her problems were the result of her body’s rejection of the device, not a defect in the device itself. She asserted that she only suspected a defect after she saw the commercial in August 2011.

The court concluded that Boston Scientific was not entitled to a dismissal. While the judge expressed some skepticism about the patient’s testimony, he concluded that a reasonable jury could still possibly accept the patient’s testimony over the company’s evidence and conclude that she had no knowledge of the device defect until she saw the commercial in 2011, especially given the evidence that Sanchez’s doctor never told her about the defect.  

Becoming injured as a result of defective product is always difficult and painful, but is especially so when dealing with a medical device implanted inside your body. Although Sanchez’s case survived this dismissal motion, it highlights the profound importance of taking immediate action if you believe that you’ve been injured by some form of medical misconduct, whether it is medical malpractice or a defective medical device, in order to make sure you preserve your right to sue the wrongdoer. For careful advice and tenacious representation in your injury case, consult the Oakland personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch have the skill and knowledge to help you understand your rights and pursue your case. Contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-2575 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today. 

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