Dr. M (name withheld to prevent defense lawyers’ raising red herring arguments) testified against Johnson & Johnson for the plaintiff, Coleen Perry, on Feb. 10, 2015 in Bakersfield, Calif. in her ongoing trial against the Big Pharma giant and Ethicon.
Through questioning, Dr. M testified that he has performed more than 15,000 female pelvic floor surgeries, some 5,500 for stress urinary incontinence. The plaintiff, Mrs. Perry, had an Ethicon sling implanted for SUI, then had it removed several months later after it caused her pain. Dr. M testified that he had never implanted mesh vaginally. He said that he now spends some 30 percent of his practice removing the plastic material from women’s vaginas. He estimated that about 80 percent of his explant surgeries – of which he has performed some 300 – involve mesh which was implanted to treat SUI.
TVT Abbrevo Sling Caused Plaintiff’s Injuries
Dr. M testified that, in his opinion:
“The TVT Abbrevo sling mesh caused Mrs. Perry’s injuries. (She) suffered an erosion of a significant portion of the vaginal wall, dyspareunia, painful intercourse, vaginal pain, as well as worsening incontinence.”
Attorney Rich Freese asked Dr. M what characteristics of the TVT-Abbrevo mesh he believe caused or contributed to Mrs. Perry’s injuries: Dr. M answered:
“The heavyweight of the mesh, the excessive stiffness of the mesh, the short length of the mesh, and the degradation that the mesh underwent in her body.” And that the stiffness of the mesh was affected by its being laser cut.
“The TVT Abbrevo Mesh is by definition is heavyweight, 105 grams per meter squared.”
Ethicon has always claimed that the TVT Abbrevo mesh is a lightweight mesh. The weight is an issue, because Ethicon’s own scientists wrote in emails and elsewhere that lightweight mesh is preferable to heavyweight mesh because the less weight means less foreign body reaction. All mesh triggers a foreign body reaction to ward off foreign substances, and develops scar tissue to ward off foreign material intrusion.
In cross examination, defense attorneys for Ethicon asked Dr. M how much money he charged for his services in this trial. Dr. M responded that he charged $350 per hour for trial preparation and $2,000 per day for trial testimony. He estimated that he had put in about 40 hours for this trial.
Through questioning, defense also reiterated that Dr. M was not a treating doctor for Mrs. Perry, but an expert called in by her attorneys. Defense also called in a doctor of their own – Dr. Flynn – to examine Mrs. Perry, and Dr. M was taken through that doctor’s assessment to try to show any discrepancies they could in the two doctors’ conclusions.