C.R. Bard is one of the largest manufacturers of surgical mesh devices in the United States. The company is a leader in the hernia mesh market and was a large seller of pelvic meshes before legal concerns forced them to withdraw the product from the market. C.R. Bard is currently facing over 1,700 lawsuits pertaining to its hernia mesh products. There are a variety of different harms that have been alleged by plaintiffs.  One of the products that is alleged to have injured patients is C.R. Bard’s hernia mesh Marlex. Currently, these cases are part of the large multi-district litigation that is pending against the medical device maker. Anyone who has had Marlex mesh implanted as part of a hernia surgery and has experienced complications should consult a Marlex hernia mesh lawsuit attorney about their legal options.

 Marlex : The Uses of Hernia Mesh

Hernia meshes are generally regarded as a more effective approach to repairing the hernia than traditional surgery which relies on an open incision. Tradition hernia repair requires that the muscles be sewn together, and there is a long recovery time. Moreover, the chance of recurrence of the hernia and a subsequent surgery is greater. Hernia mesh is supposed to result in a more lasting repair that requires lesser recovery time as the mesh is supposed to help the body strengthen on its own while remaining in place. In practice, that has not always happened.

Marlex hernia mesh has been in use for over 60 years. Marlex refers to a type of material that consists of high-density polyethylene fiber. The mesh contains knitted polypropylene fibers, which is supposed to make the mesh more malleable than traditional polyethylene mesh.  A little known fact is that Marlex is the same material that is found in Hula Hoops.  While there are many different types of hernia mesh on the market, Marlex is one of the more predominantly used types of hernia meshes. C.R. Bard’s hernia mesh sales account for roughly two thirds of the total overall market in the U.S.

Synthetic material

While hernia mesh has had some positive effects on hernia surgery repair and recovery, the products have also resulted in hundreds of thousands of cases where there have been complications. Part of the issue with hernia meshes in general is that they contain synthetic plastic material. Consider the above statement that Marlex contains the same material that is part of hula hoops. This means that a foreign substance is introduced into the body as opposed to relying on the body’s own natural healing. This introduces a permanent possibility of problems even years later.

Complications of Hernia Mesh

There are several potential complications from the use of Marlex synthetic hernia mesh. The first is that the patient is susceptible to an infection. The Marlex mesh is made out of plastic, which can still result in an infection even though the manufacturers claim that the product is inert. In addition, hernia mesh can migrate or fail. When it moves out of place, it can cause complications in the neighboring areas of the body. When it fails, the hernia will recur and further surgery is necessary to replace the mesh and fix the hernia. There was an FDA recall of Marlex mesh in 2008 for these reasons.

Marlex Hernia Mesh Lawsuits

With regard to Bard’s Marlex, the lawsuits filed have alleged that similar injuries occurred. There was one lawsuit that was filed in federal court in Pennsylvania in October 2017. In this case, the plaintiff claimed to have suffered severe and permanent bodily injuries and significant mental and physical pain. The plaintiff underwent surgery that resulted in an implant of Marlex mesh. The lawsuit did not indicate that the plaintiff suffered any side effects for nearly 12 years after receiving the mesh implant.

However, in 2015, the plaintiff was admitted to the emergency room with severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Tests revealed that the plaintiff was suffering from a small bowel obstruction and bowel containing ventral hernia. The plaintiff underwent laparoscopic surgery which became a laparotomy when the surgeon noticed the extent of the problem. The bowel had densely adhered to the mesh and the mesh was within the hernia sac. The surgeon had to perform a bowel resection and also a procedure to remove the mesh. The surgeon also repaired the hernia. After the initial procedure, the plaintiff had wound discharge and required home health care nursing. The plaintiff also experienced continuing intestinal pain.

The specific problem that the plaintiff experienced was that the mesh became deformed. When that happened, it moved out of place and impacted the surrounding bowel. Other patients have reported damage to internal organs when the mesh migrates.

Marlex mesh is unreasonable dangerous

The lawsuits allege that Marlex mesh is unreasonable dangerous because it was susceptible to deformity, elongation and migration to other organs including the bowel. It was the movement of the mesh out of place that caused the plaintiff to suffer the damage in the above case.

Further, Marlex mesh has been in use for decades, and there should have been a large dataset of possible complications that C.R. Bard knew. Instead, as the lawsuits allege, C.R. Bard did not take any action to remedy the product defect and did not accurately report the data about the complications to the public and to healthcare providers.  In fact, there has been testimony at other cases involving implants made out of Marlex that has indicated that the substance is not safe for human implantation. Chevron Phillips, the manufacturer of Marlex, even lodged a complaint in 2004, arguing to the mesh makers that Marlex was not safe to use as an implant.

Update on the Multi-District Litigation

The multi-district litigation involving C.R. Bard’s hernia meshes, of which Marlex mesh is a part, is getting closer to the date of the bellwether trials. There have been 12 bellwether cases selected that are currently going through the discovery process. These cases have trial dates spread throughout 2020. Plaintiffs are still filing lawsuits regarding C.R. Bard hernia meshes. It is anticipated that the number of cases will eventually exceed 3,000.

Those who have been injured should seek immediate legal help. As the above-described case evidences, Marlex hernia mesh can be a dormant problem that sits in the body until it fails, which can occur years after the initial surgery. The statute of limitations starts to run when the claim accrues, meaning it is when the plaintiff knew or should have known that they were injured. Therefore, even if you have had the mesh implanted many years ago, the statute of limitations begins to run on the day that you realized that you were hurt. Call an attorney now to discuss your possible case. The consultation is free and you will owe nothing unless you are successful in achieving a financial recovery for your injuries.