On Wednesday, Maria Cardenas detailed the pain and medical complications she claims stemmed from the erosion of a pelvic mesh sling inside her body, concluding plaintiff’s case-in-chief in Massachusetts’s second trial against Boston Scientific and its pelvic mesh devices. Maria Cardenas v. Boston Scientific Corp.
Cardenas, who underwent pelvic mesh surgery in 2008, described pain and other health issues she said began more than a year-and-a-half after the mesh sling was implanted, and told jurors she wasn’t aware of the risks the procedure entailed.
“I did not appreciate how bad the mesh could harm me and cause permanent damage to my urethra,” she said.
Cardenas’s suit claims Boston Scientific’s Obtryx pelvic mesh device was defectively designed and that the company failed to adequately warn of its risks. The suit is one of more than 50,000 pelvic mesh actions against manufacturers nationwide. The suits typically allege that the mesh erodes into tissue, causing pain, infection, and other medical complications. In July, Boston Scientific prevailed in Massachusetts’s first trial involving the company's pelvic mesh devices. However, that suit involved a different product than the one at issue in Cardenas.
Cardenas testified on Wednesday that her surgeon implanted Boston Scientific’s device to treat her stress urinary incontinence. She said she began suffering from pain more than a year later and underwent a hysterectomy before doctors discovered the mesh’s erosion. Her physician, Dr. Lane Childs, ultimately removed most of the sling, though she said he told her that portions of the mesh could not be removed.
“I’m scared,” she said. “I don’t know if that could have any more complications, what kind of complications…. I just don’t want to go through any more surgeries.”
However, on cross examination, defense counsel sought to establish Cardenas's informed consent to the pelvic sling surgery and its risks. Cardenas acknowledged that, prior to surgery, she had signed a consent form that warned of a variety of complications, including reactions requiring the removal of the device. However, Cardenas testified that she could not recall actually discussing or reading specific warnings about the procedure.
Cardenas also told jurors that Childs, was “very surprised” that the pelvic mesh eroded. Cardenas acknowledged earlier deposition testimony where she said Childs “mentioned he’d had 100% success with his surgeries, and I was just that 1%.”