Merriam-Webster defines Bellwether as someone or something that leads others or shows what will happen in the future. Bellwether trials involving American Medical Systems (A.M.S.), manufacturer of transvaginal mesh products, are scheduled to begin in April and should be concluded by late summer early fall of 2014. A bellwether trial is a trial conducted as part of a Multi-District Litigation. The idea behind these trials is to pick a few representative cases out of the larger pool of cases and litigate them for the purpose of providing both the plaintiffs and the defendants a gauge as to the eventual outcome of each individual case in the larger pool, hence the name “Bellwether.”
There have been numerous bellwether cases conducted involving other pelvic mesh manufacturers but these will be the first involving American Medical Systems. The bellwether trials have not been going well for the various manufacturers with many ending in multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs. I anticipate that the AMS bellwether’s will produce similar results.
Pelvic mesh is a product used to treat, among other things, urinary stress incontinence in women. The problem with this product occurs when the mesh erodes into the vaginal and uterine wall of patients causing severe injury, including incontinence, infection and in some cases death. If you have had this product implanted it does not mean that you will have a similar outcome, however, it is a good idea to discuss these issues with your doctor. If you have had the mesh implanted and have experienced issues similar to these I would strongly encourage you to seek legal advice. No amount of money will ever be sufficient to compensate these women for the pain they have suffered as a result of this defective product, but hopefully it will make their lives a little easier. It is the least that these companies should do.