Study Shows Women Exposed to SUI Risk After A Hysterectomy

A study which was published recently in The Lancet revealed that hysterectomy or the surgical removal of the uterus may not only trigger vaginal vault prolapse but may also increase the risk of urinary incontinence. Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden reported that women who had hysterectomy are more than twice as likely to undergo a surgery for urinary incontinence in the future.

Hysterectomy is the second most common surgical procedure in the United State with over 600,000 operations performed annually, next only to a caesarian section operation. Treatment for conditions such as irregular heavy menstrual bleeding, uterine fibroid, and prolapse of the uterus are the main reasons for this surgical procedure. Urinary incontinence, on the other hand, is the most common pelvic floor disorder affecting an estimated 18 million women.

Using a nationwide hospital discharge registry for the years 1973 to 2003, Dr. Daniel Altman and his team of researchers gathered data on 644,766 Swedish women. Of this number, 165,260 women had hysterectomies while 479,506 similarly aged women did not have any surgical procedures to remove the uterus.

Analysis of the data indicated that regardless of the type of hysterectomy performed; women who had their uterus removed were 2.4 times more likely to have surgeries for urinary incontinence. It was determined that the period within five years from the date of hysterectomy was the point where the risk was at its highest. It was further revealed that the risk of getting incontinence was higher if the hysterectomy was done before their menopause or after giving births several times.

The results of this study may have validated the connection between urinary incontinence and hysterectomy which many medical specialists have long believed. To both the patient and the attending physician, this confirmation may have significant implications.

Any woman who might consider having a hysterectomy may be made aware of the risks involved in such procedure before making a final decision. Knowledge of this possible consequence may prompt the healthcare provider to assess the circumstances more carefully before suggesting this procedure.

In view of the controversy surrounding vaginal sling procedures, a treatment method for SUI favored by many urogynecologic surgeons, these findings become even more significant. Severe complications experienced by thousands of patients have reportedly resulted from the use of these surgical mesh devices. Included in these complaints of severe complications were those experienced by women who were recommended to have sling procedures together with the removal of the uterus.

Thousands of patients who were implanted with these mesh devices have allegedly sustained serious injuries causing pain and suffering, permanent disability, and considerable physical deformity. Legal actions such as the filing of vaginal mesh lawsuits against different mesh manufacturers have been resorted to by these injured patients.



Bard Argues Against Use of Internal Memos in 4th Mesh Bellwether Case

In preparation for the fourth bellwether trial involving the vaginal mesh lawsuit of Carolyn Jones against C.R. Bard in the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, lawyers for the defendant requested the court for the exclusion of six internal memoranda that were to be submitted as evidences by the plaintiff.

These documents were written by Mr. Bobby Orr, the head of Bard’s Advanced Surgical Concepts Division in 2008 and 2009. These memoranda contain discussions on the various options and materials that could be utilized by the company in making new vaginal mesh devices.

Bard argued that these internal memos should not be allowed as evidence since these were written after Carolyn Jones, the claimant, was implanted with the Avaulta Plus mesh device. As such, these documents are therefore not relevant to the claimant’s defect claim.

It was also claimed that inclusion of these memos would go against a federal provision that bars the introduction of evidence that shows steps taken to correct the defects that would have prevented prior injuries.

It was reported by online media sources a week before the scheduled trial that Judge Goodwin, the presiding judge, had denied the motion filed by C.R. Bard.

Read More: C.R. Bard’s Request to Exclude Memos From Vaginal Mesh Trial Denied

AMS Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits in West Virginia MDL Reaches 12,253

As of the first week of December 2013, the total number of vaginal mesh lawsuits pending in the US District Court of West Virginian against American Medical Systems (AMA), which have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL), was reported to have reached 12,253.

For the first few days of the month of December alone, nearly 100 new claims were added in the pending list of vaginal mesh lawsuits against AMS. Included in this batch was the vaginal mesh lawsuit of a woman who suffered serious injuries which left her permanently disabled after being implanted by AMS’ Monarc Subfascial Hammock.

The plaintiff was implanted with this supposedly innovative mesh device during a sling procedure for the repair of her stress urinary incontinence (SUI). After only a short period of time, the claimant alleged that the mesh device started to erode insider her body causing severe pain, scar tissue and an adverse immune system response.

Even with subsequent surgical procedures to remove the mesh, she still experienced pain and other severe complications, leaving her disabled permanently. This has compelled her to seek compensation for her medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Read More: New Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit Added to American Medical Systems MDL

Vaginal Mesh Claimants Accuse J&J Subsidiary of Destroying Vital Documents

Thousands of documents and other evidences relevant to the vaginal mesh lawsuits were lost or destroyed by Ethicon, as alleged by the claimants in their motion submitted to Judge Joseph Goodwin of the US District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

According to the plaintiffs, the spoliation of evidence by the defendants was carried out in a systematic and continual manner over the last ten years. It involved almost all levels of the company including the office of Miss Renee Selman, Ethicon’s worldwide president for women’s health & urology from 2005 to 2010.

As a high-level decision maker for the company, it is believed that her hard drive contained vital information on policies, safety procedures, marketing strategies, and other important issues related to the pending lawsuits. These data were reportedly removed by Ethicon despite the “litigation hold” issued by the proper bodies.

Only 25 documents from the files of Miss Selman were made available during pretrial procedures. Considering her position and the years she was with the company, legal experts believe that this number is remarkably low.

This irregularity has led the plaintiffs to file a petition asking Judge Goodwin to impose sanctions against the erring company.

Read More: Vaginal Mesh Plaintiffs Accuse Ethicon of Destroying Crucial Documents