The Prolift, made of a polypropylene mesh, was inserted through an incision in the vagina. In August, J&J stopped selling four mesh devices in the U.S., including the Prolift. J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., said in June that it would end sales worldwide because the products lacked commercial viability, not because of their safety and effectiveness.
Slater claimed that Gross' chronic pain and other health problems were risks Ethicon knew about before first selling Prolift in March 2005. Slater said Ethicon knew the device caused pain and often became exposed through the vaginal skin. He said it hardened in women's bodies and was difficult for surgeons to remove.
Gross, of Watertown, S.D., testified Jan. 31 that her life has changed dramatically for the worse since her mesh was implanted. She said she is in constant pain and can no longer sit comfortably, and she has prescriptions for 20 different medicines to help with her pelvic problems.
"Who you see standing here now is not who I was," Gross told jurors. "I was eager and energetic, loved to go to work, loved to participate in church activities, school activities."
Kevin Benson, the South Dakota surgeon who implanted her Prolift on July 13, 2006, to shore up pelvic muscles, was "so gung-ho" about the Prolift that she thought she needn't worry. She understood from talking to Benson and reading a company brochure that she faced little risk and that the mesh could be removed easily, she said. Had she known all the risks, she said, she wouldn't have chosen the Prolift.
Gross said she has had more than 400 visits to doctors and physical therapists for treatment, exams and tests, which have been "horrific."
"I am fearful of dying because this pain is so bad," she said.
On cross-examination, Jones sought to establish that before many of her surgeries, doctors warned that they may not help her pain. At one point, Gross shouted at Jones: "You're trying to blame it on me, and it's not right."
Jurors saw the video deposition of Benson, who did three follow-up surgeries to remove portions of the mesh to help Gross with her pain. Other doctors also removed parts of her mesh.
During jury deliberations, the jury reheard testimony from both Gross and Benson. During the trial, which began Jan. 10, jurors also heard from 11 company witnesses and several experts on each side.
The case is Gross v. Gynecare Inc., Atl-L-6966-10, Superior Court of Atlantic County, New Jersey (Atlantic City).