Vaginal Mesh Class Action Won Against Johnson & Johnson in Australia

 A long-running class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over vaginal mesh implants has been won by more than 1,350 Australian women.

It was ruled in Australia’s Federal Court J&J subsidiary Ethicon had not issued a sufficient warning to patients and surgeons in relation to the “risks” posed by the products they were using. The vaginal mesh implants were often put in place to address pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence that occurred in the aftermath of childbirth.

Some patients in the legal action said they had suffered chronic pain, bleeding and severe discomfort during sexual intercourse after having the mesh surgically implanted.

Judge Anna Katzmann ruled that much of the information the company provided about the products was “inaccurate” and at times made “false representations”. Damages will be set next year. During he ruling she said: “The risks were known, not insignificant and on Ethicon’s own admission, serious harm could ensue if they eventuated.”

Ethicon defended its record and said it would consider an appeal and released a statement which said: “Ethicon believes that the company acted ethically and responsibly in the research, development and supply of these products.”

The original claimant in the case Julie Davis said: “They have treated women essentially like guinea pigs, lied about it and done nothing to help”. This ruling comes after the Australian government  last year issuing a national apology to women affected by vaginal mesh, acknowledging decades of “agony and pain”.

The case is one of a series of lawsuits J&J faces over the products around the world. Last October, the company committed to paying almost $117m (£90.5m) to settle claims in relation to pelvic mesh in 41 US states and the District of Columbia. There are also a number of lawsuits over the product in Canada and Europe, including Ireland.

US Medical Expert says Vaginal Mesh is ‘Not Safe’

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Man settles €21m case after 17-year battle for Cerebral Palsy Compensation

At the High Court yesterday a 24-year-old Connor Corroon with cerebral palsy took a legal action in relation to the circumstances of his birth at a Cork hospital settled for a final lump sum payment of €17.5m.

The High Court approval of the final payment, one of the largest ever recorded in the State, signals the finish to a 17-year legal battle by the Corroon family. It mean the overall amount of payments made to Connor is €21.75m. Connor cannot walk unaided and must use a wheelchair to get around. He is only able to communicate with the help of special eye gaze technology.

Mr Corroon said: “Today represents the end of 17 long years. I feel free and today my life begins.” In relation to the final settlement he said: “I am happy with that. I am proud that for the first time ever I was able to speak in public and let people know what I wanted to convey rather than others guessing what I was thinking. The experience has been so liberating.”

In 2010 Conor’s case was adjourned on an interim as the legislation allowing for annual periodic payments involving the catastrophically injured was awaited. As a result of this Connor’s mother Jude pleaded with the court to permit a lump sum payment so the family could get on with their live. She asked that they allow the family to shif away from the “fishbowl life” as her son endured assessments by different specialists in advance of regular court appearances.

The court was told during an earlier hearing that Mr Corroon, of Copstown, Mallow, Co Cork, sustained catastrophic injuries when he was born at City General Hospital, Cork, in 1995 and will require care for the remainder of his life.

Mr Corroon’s legal representative David Holland SC returned to the High Court last week for a final lump sum birth injury compensation settlement. They informed the Judge that expert advice they received stated that, due to indexation, the annual periodic payment allowed for in the new legislation “will get more and more insufficient over time”. Mr Holland informed the Court that the family found the “burden of coming to court intolerable and horribly intrusive”.

Liability was conceded and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

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Record €23m Payout Made by the Health Service Executive to 14-year-old Brain-damaged Boy

A final once-off payment of €20m had been agreed in a birth injury compensation settlement between and Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 14-year-old boy who allegedly suffered brain damage at birth in a Cork hospital.

The boy in question, Lee Gibson of Carrigaline, Co Cork, suffers with cerebral palsy and cannot talk and has to use a wheelchair. It brings to a record €23m the total paid to the young boy and the personal injury compensation settlement against the HSE is the largest so far in the State for this type of legal action.

In the legal action it was claimed that Lee suffered multiple injuries to his brain due to a lack of oxygen and the effect of an untreated infection suffered by his mother. It was also alleged that there was delay of between 91 and 106 minutes before delivery by emergency caesarean section once the decision to go ahead with one had been made. There was also a claim that there was failure to treat the case as an emergency case and to give a candid explanation for what happened and why it did. The claims were denied but liability was later settled in the case.

Approving the final figure, President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly paid tribute to the teenager’s mother, Aileen Gibson. He said: “Lee makes the best of a life that is possible because of the care of his mother, grandmother and other family support.”

Four years ago, an interim settlement payment of €2m was approved for Lee and in 2017 a further interim payment of €1m was made. On those occasions, liability was also settled in the case.

Speaking outside court, Ms Gibson said that the day was bittersweet. She said: “I must say that today is bittersweet. All the money won’t change what has happened to Lee. We will have to live with that pain forever.”

 

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Swine Flu Vaccine Caused Narcolepsy According to Legal Action of Woman (26)

26-year-old Aoife Bennett has taken a vaccine compensation action as, she claims, she developed narcolepsy after having the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine administered.

Ms Bennet, who  broke down in the High Court while testifying, said that she began suffering waves of excessive tiredness within weeks of having the vaccination administered. She told the court that she was informed that it was her responsibility to get the vaccine as Ireland faced a possible swine flu pandemic in 2009. She went on to say that she would never have had it if she had been are of the possible negative outcomes.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath was informed that Ms Bennett was just 16 years of age when she had the vaccine in December 2009 as part of a mass vaccination programme. She advised the judge that she was “absolutely exhausted, before this I was very energetic and active. By Christmas Day 2009 the situation had become so bad that  she said she had to drag herself downstairs for Christmas dinner with her family.

A special comfortable chair was provided for Ms Bennett to give evidence from and she snoozed before the judge came to the bench and she was sworn in to give evidence. In addition to this Justice MacGrath told her that she could take any breaks she required during her evidence.

In students were vaccinated at school on a class-by-class basis. Ms Bennett told the Judge that she asked to read a brochure. However she was informed that she did not need to read it. She said “I was reassured it was going to be fine”. She also told the Judge that, when narcolepsy was diagnosed in 2011, she had never heard of it  prior to this point in time.

Ms Bennett, of Lakelands, Naas, Co Kildare, took the vaccination compensation action against the Minister for Health, the HSE, vaccine producer Glaxosmithkline Biologicals and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

The action alleged that Health Service Executive produced brochures misled those who viewed them as to the safety of the Pandemrix vaccine and the alleged risk linked to it being administered. The Judge was informed that the brochures included guidance which was factually incorrect.

The action alleged that Glaxosmithkline requested an indemnity from liability from the State before it would agree to produce the vaccine. The HPRA, it is alleged, was aware there was a different vaccine which had more clinical data to support its safety and efficacy.

All of the defendants in the legal action refute the claims made against them and deny liability.

 

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Mater Private Hospital Compensation of €10,000 made due to Surgical Negligence

A judge has awarded  €10,000 against the Mater Private Hospital after a man, who had been placed under anaesthetic, never had his operation as a critical piece of medical equipment went missing from the surgical team.

At the Circuit Court today, Judge John O’ Connor, was informed that Peter Keegan (31) was scheduled for an operation on his right hip on 25 November 2016, in the Mater Private Hospital, Eccles St, Dublin 7. Keegan, with an address at Woodbine Park, Raheny, Dublin 5 was represented in court by Barrister Conor Kearney, appearing with Mark Tiernan, of Tiernan & Company solicitors. Kearney informed the court that his client had been admitted to the hospital’s short stay procedure unit at 6.45am on the morning in question.

He added that his client had been administered with an anaesthetic at 7.30am. It was during this procedure, when the operation set of instruments had been opened, it was realized that an irrigation extender was not present. it was claimed that the missing piece of equipment had been sent for repair four weeks previously. However, the missing piece had not been replaced. When Mr Keegan came to from the anaesthetic around 8.30am, he was informed that there had been an issue with his operation and it had not been completed.

This caused him some distress until the team of nurses advised him of the mistake that had been made. Mr Keegan informed the judge that he remained very sleepy when he had been discharged a few hours later and he had suffered with stomach pain and nausea in the days following the incident.

Despite the fact that the procedure was rescheduled for ten days later on 5 December, Mr Keegan said he had been worried leading up to the new operation. He informed the judge that he had been extremely nervous about taking the anaesthetic again.

Judge O’Connor accepted there had been medical negligence on behalf of the Mater Private Hospital in what he termed an ‘unfortunate incident’. He added that he believed Mr Keegan had been upset emotionally after the incident. He was, however, lucky that there had been no long-term effects. Judge O’Connor awarded Keegan €10,000 medical negligence compensation damages against the Mater Private Hospital in relation to the case in question.

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Trampoline Accident Compensation of €35,000 for Girl who Broke Ankle

A schoolgirl who broke her ankle jumping in a trampoline accident has settled her High Court action for €35,000.

Shauna O’Gorman (13), in her legal action, alleged there had been a failure to supervise the activity on the trampoline properly, a failure to ensure the matting was properly and safely placed and that a hazard was allegedly permitted to exist in the activity area.

All of these allegations were refuted by the defendants and it was argued that there was alleged negligence on the part of the young girl. The argument was that the girl landed on a crash mat in an awkward fashion. Along with this the defence claimed that the girl had not informed them that she had previously broken her left foot.

They also said that she (Shauna) failed to obey the specific and repeated instructions given to her rin relation to the correct way to land on the mats.

Shauna was participating in a gymnastic event as part of an annual school tour and children were taking turns jumping on the trampoline. Ms O’Gorman, who had already jumped on the trampoline once, was just having her second go when the accident took place.

Ms O’Gorman’s legal representative, Sara Moorehead SC, told the court that the children were jumping on to matting on the floor. Another parent said that she felt the mats on the floor were not close enough together.

Justice Kevin Cross was informed that an MRI last year showed the child’s ankle as now returned to normal. After the accident Shauna had a plaster on her ankle and could not go on the first week of a family in Turkey that year. However she was permitted to join the group for the second week.

Ms O’Gorman, took the trampoline accident compensation action via her father Joseph O’Gorman, against Irish Gymnastics Ltd, operating as Gymnastics Ireland with offices at Blanchardstown, Dublin due to the accident on June 12, 2015.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, as he was approving the child accident compensation settlement,  said it was a satisfactory settlement.

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Prescription Negligence of €710000 Awarded to Woman (69)

A €710,000 prescription negligence compensation settlement has been agreed between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 69-year-old woman. The woman suffered a massive stroke after she was sent home from hospital without her required blood thinning medication. The award was approved at the High Court.

Along with the €710,000 payment, yearly care for the rest of her life around €250,000 a year is also being provided and an apology from the HSE was read aloud to the High Court.

Mary Moss was given the ok to leave hospital without her required prescribed anticoagulants. She remained “unknowingly” without these for an additional six weeks. This lack of medication resulted in her suffering a massive stroke and she is now disabled.

The HSE issued the apology to Ms Moss and her family via a court statement, and her family for any “shortcomings” the occurred during the treatment she was in receipt of at Sligo University Hospital. They said they were sorry for  the huge upheaval that this has caused to the life of Ms Moss and her family.

Des O’Neill SC, representing Ms Moss, advised the Judge that she had suffered a stroke in 2010 and recovered well following it. However, in February 2018 she had suffered another ‘episode’ and her anti-thinning medication was altered in hospital. However, her medication was not included in her prescription given to her when she was told she could return home. Sadly, this error went unrecognised she experienced a stroke six weeks later.

Mr O’Neill said Ms Moss is currently still in the National Rehabilitation Hospital, and has made a good recovery. Her family hope to bring her back home to Ballymote, Co Sligo, as soon as possible. Her daughter Leanne Moss, speaking outside court, that she was relieved to know that her mother’s care will be paid for annually and that this would assist her family greatly. She said her mother is confined to a wheelchair due to the fact that she suffered left side paralysis in the stroke.

The family’s solicitor, Roger Murray, told the court: “Thanks to a successful mediation, the family can now concentrate on getting the best possible care for their mother, and moving her home to the west where she is happiest.”

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US Medical Expert says Vaginal Mesh is ‘Not Safe’

Expert Chartered chemist Dr Chris DeArmitt, has assisted over 9,000 women is have their vaginal mesh compensation actions settled, has referred to the that the material as not safe for treating incontinence.

Vaginal mesh is currently not being used due to suspension in the United Kingdom. This will remain so until the results of an independent safety review are revealed. The study was initiated after thousands of women reported harrowing complications. DeArmitt, a leading medical expert in the UK has been called upon during court action against producers of vaginal mesh.

In the United States over 100,000 people are taking legal actions due to injuries and illnesses that the believe arose from the use of vaginal mesh.

In an interview with Sky News Dr DeArmitt said: “There are two main reasons why any plastics material expert will tell you just obviously that this is a bad material and I have never heard anyone who disagrees with me. I see an absolute disregard for proper testing. Testing is way less than you would see on a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine. It’s shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”

In Ireland there have been a number of case in relation to use if vaginal mesh in recent years, particularly in 2017. Legal representatives for a number of women, who initiated legal actions in 2017 after undergoing the vaginal mesh procedure, said that they (the women) only became aware of the issue after seeing media reports in the United Kingdom in relation to its use.

The US regulator, the FDA, in 2019 outlawed the sale and distribution of all mesh that was to be used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse due to the many safety problems experienced by the general public. In the UK, the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) has stated that it will be offered as a potential alternative form of treatment for women suffering from various injuries once the ban on using it is lifted.

A NICE representative commented: “The benefits and risks of each type of treatment are laid out to ensure every woman is fully informed. Where the evidence is limited, this is also highlighted. There are a number of procedures recommended by NICE, including mesh procedures.”

Due to work of many campaigners, the use of vaginal mesh has come under the microscope once more. Typical problems suffered by  women include chronic pain, not being able to make love, inability to work as normal and walking difficulties. These issues arise from vaginal mesh cutting organs or getting stuck in tissue, leaving permanent nerve damage.

 

 

 

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National Museum Fall Results in €67,000 Compensation Award for Tourist

A personal injury award of almost €67,000 has been approved at the High Court in favour of an Australian tourist who injured his leg when he slipped and rolled down stone stairs at the National Museum of Ireland.

Presiding Judge Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said the Dublin museum’s Portland stone steps had been shiny and slippery when the tourist, Warren Baldwin (70), from Revesby, New South Wales, ruptured a leg tendon in the accident. Mr Baldwin suffered significant trauma, inconvenience and expense due to the accident that occurred on June 5, 2016, on the second day of Mr Baldwin’s trip to Ireland with his wife. He fell on the third step from the bottom of the staircase he was descending in the museum.

Justice O’Hanlon ruled that the accident was caused due to negligence in not have a railing in place for a person to hold onto the entire way down the seven-step staircase. The steps date to 1890, when the museum, located in Kildare Street building was built.

The Judge ruled that, had there been an adequate and safe handrail on the steps at the time the accident occurred, Mr Baldwin would not have sustained the injuries. She accepted the contention that because the railing stopped before the end of the staircase there was a tendency for people to move towards the centre portion. The wrought-iron bannister currently in place is topped by a wooden rail terminates at the third-last step where it joins a stone balustrade.

Legal Counsel for the National Museum of Ireland argued that the stairs did not have any defects at the time of the accident and that there was one handrail in place for people to hold onto. In addition to his they informed the judge that, out more than 470,000 people visiting the museum during 2016, Mr Baldwin was the only person who fell on the stairs.

Justice O’Hanlon awarded Mr Baldwin €66,989 as, she said, the museum failed in its duty to take reasonable care to ensure his safety.

 

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€10.5m Cerebral Palsy Compensation Awarded to Young Boy

12-year-old Samuel Forde , who who sued the Health Service Executive in relation to the circumstances of his birth at Sligo General Hospital has settled his High Court Cerebral Palsy Compensation action for €10.5million.

Samuel, who lives at Glenview Park, Grange, Co Sligo had taken the birth injury compensation action through his mother Deborah Forde. Through his legal counsel, Des O’Neill SC, it was claimed there was an alleged failure to promptly diagnose and act upon the baby’s condition,  there was an alleged failure to admit Mrs Forde to hospital on August 19, 2006 when her condition and that of the baby could be monitored and acted upon appropriately and that the pregnancy was allowed to continue well past its due date resulting in the failure to deliver the baby at an appropriate stage.

The claims were denied by the legal team for the Health Service Executive.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed that Mrs Forde had gone for a check up on August 15, 2006 which indicated that nothing was out of the ordinary. However, two days later she attended the hospital as she thought she might be in labour. At this point in time a CTG was applied to monitor the baby’s heartbeat .

Mrs Forde attended the hospital again two days later but was told she could return home after a number of tests were carried out. Following this a midwife checked with her, over a phone call, regarding the baby’s movement and when she reported less movement on August 20 she was told to return to hospital at once. A CTG and checks were completed again and Samuel was born by cesarean section August 20,2006 and he had to be intubated.

The High Court was informed that Samuel has cerebral palsy which has completely impacted his existence and the requirements for the future are thorough extensive including lifelong care.

The Judge was informed that the Forde family only initiated court proceedings after they sought legal advice a few years ago when Samuel’s medical card was withdrawn a few years ago.

Outside court solicitor David O’Malley for the Fordes said the family wished for Samuel to have a life which is “as happy and as included as possible. Hopefully the financial settlement can bring him that stability. Mediation was a very effective mechanism to resolve this case”.

In approving the settlement, without admission of liability, Justice Kevin Cross said the Fordes had looked after their son “over and above” and he wished “the loving and protective family” the best for the future.

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