Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling Victims Describe Pain Inflicted by Defective DeviceNov 15, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
The Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling has caused serious injuries to thousands of women. Now, four women who are suing the maker of the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling have come forward about the debilitating injuries this defective medical device causes, and how those injuries continue to negatively impact their lives.
The Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling was first marketed by Mentor Inc. in 2003. The device was meant to treat stress urinary incontinence, an embarrassing loss of bladder control that afflicts 13 million people. The disorder occurs mostly in women, and is caused by weak muscle tone that can result from child birth, old age and other conditions. But almost as soon as it was introduced, patients who received the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling began to complain of serious complications. The most common of these injuries were vaginal erosions, basically the breakdown of the tissue that makes up the vaginal wall. This is an extremely painful condition that leads to chronic vaginal discharge and infection. The design of the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling also caused erosions of the urethra, and it allowed the device to cut into the vaginal wall, causing extreme and painful vaginal extrusions.
The defective Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling has spawned lawsuits across the country. Now, several women from Atlanta have sued Mentor over the injuries they suffered as a result of the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling. Their suits claim that the mesh on the sling disintegrated, and some pieces became embedded in the vaginal wall or migrated to other parts of their bodies. At a news conference last week, the women said that the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling caused them to suffer from chronic pain, infections, abscesses, bloody discharges and cellulitus. One plaintiff said she was forced to undergo surgeries every other day over a three week period to allow doctors to remove infected tissue. Another of the women described how she experienced a “blow out” of blood and other tissue from her upper thigh where pieces of the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling’s mesh had spread, causing an infection.
The reason that the Mentor ObTape Vaginal caused such serious injuries was because of its poor design. Most of the other vaginal slings on the market are made with a woven, or mesh design. This allows surrounding tissue to receive nutrients and oxygen. The Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling did not have this design, and this caused impaired healing. As a result, between 17 and 18 percent of the women who were implanted with a Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling suffered from complications, with many forced to undergo a difficult surgical procedure to have the device removed. The Atlanta women, and thousands of others like them, thought the Mentor ObTape Vaginal Sling would be the answer to the embarrassing problem of urinary incontinence. Instead, it ended up creating far more serious problems.