The lawyer-client relationship should be based on trust. But some scam artists give the medical and legal field a bad name. And in one example, they set out to manipulate people’s medical information to try to pressure you to have unnecessary, possibly dangerous surgery.

This nightmare became a reality for Jerri Plummer.  She told The New York Times, “I was taken advantage of through this whole process.”  Now Ms. Plummer must wear adult diapers, after being convinced to have her ineffective vaginal mesh implant removed, only to suffer worse urinary problems she is being told are permanent.

Here’s what happened:

The scam began when Ms. Plummer got an unexpected call from a person who only gave their first name.

Somehow this caller knew all sorts of details about her having a vaginal mesh implant from her confidential medical record. Next, she was told if the implant was causing her problems (it was) that all her expenses would be covered if it needed to be removed to not cause her serious harm or death.  

Terrified, the anonymous caller then told Ms. Plummer she could be set up with a lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer, experienced in this, to help her sue the mesh manufacturer, Boston Scientific.

Little did she know that the company working with her new lawyer was in cahoots with a finance company to steer her to a certain facility to have the next surgery in a rushed improper way.  Or that the medical personnel part of the scam made it a routine practice to mislead patients who had already suffered from one medical procedure, faulty vaginal mesh implants, to go through painful, dangerous surgery delivered in a unethical, and at times negligent manner.

Lawyers building such cases sometimes turn to marketing firms to drum up clients. One of these, Alpha Law, is no longer in operation but before going under signed up 14,000 women for mesh litigation.  A series of Reuters articles have covered the unusual role of these companies. Much of this shady industry tries to keep their unethical web of marketers and financiers in the shadows. The marketers turn to finance companies to provide high-interest loans to the clients that have to be repaid only if the clients receive money from the case. Those loans are then used to pay for surgery performed by doctors who are often lined up by the marketers. Doctors working for such sites were known to make upwards of $14,000 a day from these specialized procedures.

Millions of women have received the vaginal mesh implants.  One of their makers, Boston Scientific and Johnson and Johnson have both set aside a combined total of about $3 billion dollars to cover potential mesh-related settlements. There are currently more than 100,000 plaintiffs of this subtype in Federal courts alone.  Many more are pursuing legal action on the state level. Some law firms realized that women with the implants still in their bodies tended to receive a much smaller settlement than ones who had them taken out. We recommend carefully investigating any marketing, or financial firms you may want to assist you with medical malpractice issues with the appropriate regulatory agencies such as The Better Business Bureau.  Ethical lawyers in this industry can point you to their track record in and out of court with cases similar to yours or former clients willing to give a testimonial. Thus was created motive to steer already vulnerable clients into a web of deceit and betrayal.