Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch Victim Awarded $1.3 Million

We recently wrote that the first federal <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Composix_Kugel_Mesh_X_Large_Patch">Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch trial ended in a verdict for the defendants, Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc. The Rhode Island jury found the defendants negligent in the design of the Kugel patch, but ruled the plaintiff did not prove the negligent design directly caused or contributed to the damages he suffered.

Now, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island found that these same defendants, in this second trial—Christopher Thorpe and Laure Thorpe v. Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc.—are liable for injuries suffered by plaintiffs Christopher and Laure Thorpe due to negligent design of the Composix® Kugel® Mesh hernia repair patch. Defendants were also found liable for the failure to warn of dangers associated with the patch.

The plaintiffs were awarded $1.3 million by the jury for personal injury damages and $200,000 for loss of consortium. Plaintiff attorneys argued that Mr. Thorpe suffered severe internal injuries caused by a broken plastic ring on the hernia repair mesh, which included an abdominal wall abscess and fistula and caused him to undergo a variety of surgeries to repair damage and which continues today.

Thousands of cases have been filed against Kugel Mesh hernia patch maker Davol and its parent company C.R. Bard in Rhode Island federal court’s first consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Between December 2005 and March 2006, specific lot numbers of defective Composix® Kugel® Mesh hernia repair patches were recalled after it was found that the memory recoil ring, which opens the patch, could potentially break under the stress of placement in the intra-abdominal space and lead to chronic intestinal problems such as bowel perforations and chronic intestinal fistulae. Intestinal fistulae are abnormal linkages between the intestines and other organs.

Around 1,300 other lawsuits involving the Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch are pending in the MDL underway in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island. Another 1,774 are pending in Rhode Island Superior Court.

John Whitfield of Missouri brought the first lawsuit in the MDL; Whitfield was implanted with the Kugel patch in 2004. Three years after receiving his patch, Whitfield was admitted to the emergency with nausea and vomiting. A CT scan discovered that Whitfield’s Kugel patch folded over, becoming affixed to the bowel, and causing an obstruction. To save his life, Whitfield had to have 22 cm of his intestine removed.

When it was first introduced, the Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch was heralded as an innovation in hernia treatment. Unfortunately, by 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was receiving more and more reports of failure with the Kugel Patch. The reports were so alarming that the FDA issued a Class I recall—the agency’s most urgent recall—of the Kugel Mesh X-Large Patch. By February 2007, the Kugel Patch recall had been expanded twice to several other sizes of the device.

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