Women beat medical giants in landmark case

More than 1000 women whose lives were forever changed by pelvic mesh implants have succeeded in their landmark class action.

The Federal Court has ruled in favour of the women who were given the vaginal mesh implants to treat pelvic floor damage.

The implants, manufactured by international medical giants Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, are believed to have adversely affected as many as 8000 women.

Many have since been treated for stress incontinence and prolapse, often after giving birth, resulting in chronic and debilitating pain and the inability to have sex.

Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann said the evidence was "overwhelming" and found the creator of the devices "negligent".

More than 90,000 devices were inserted into those wanting structural support to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. But hundreds, if not thousands, who elected to undergo surgery suffered chronic and debilitating acute pain as the supposedly permanent implants eroded. One of those in the class action, Victoria's Diane Dawson, remains beset by pain despite five additional surgeries to address her complications, Justice Anna Katzmann SC said.

"She is understandably angry, frustrated and distressed by her plight," the judge said on Thursday.

Justice Katzmann said some of the devices went to market without clinical trials, let alone a randomised control trial that compared them to other treatments.

 

Lawyer Rebecca Jancauskas joins members of the class action against Johnson & Johnson, Gai Thompson, Joanne Maninon and Carina Anderson in 2017. Picture: Paul Miller/AAP
Lawyer Rebecca Jancauskas joins members of the class action against Johnson & Johnson, Gai Thompson, Joanne Maninon and Carina Anderson in 2017. Picture: Paul Miller/AAP

More than 90,000 devices were inserted into those wanting structural support to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. But hundreds, if not thousands, who elected to undergo surgery suffered chronic and debilitating acute pain as the supposedly permanent implants eroded. One of those in the class action, Victoria's Diane Dawson, remains beset by pain despite five additional surgeries to address her complications, Justice Anna Katzmann SC said.

"She is understandably angry, frustrated and distressed by her plight," the judge said on Thursday.

Justice Katzmann said some of the devices went to market without clinical trials, let alone a randomised control trial that compared them to other treatments.

Shine Lawyers' class action began in October 2012, with a seven-month trial held in 2017.

There are 1350 women who have registered to take part in the class action.

"It has been a long journey to get here through this legal process," Shine Lawyer's Rebecca Jancauskas said in a statement.

"We have fought hard to have these women's voices heard, as they've struggled with the chronic pain and complications from their mesh and tape implants."

With AAP


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