Have you or a loved one had Transvaginal Mesh?
You know all those crazy lawyer ads you see on TV, asking,”Have you had Transvaginal Mesh?”?
Well, guess what? They are not just constant, and annoying. They are also talking to real, live, people who HAVE had transvaginal mesh, and ARE hurting because of it.
And there are a LOT of them out there. Like, a LOT. Thousands and thousands…. and more and MORE are winding up like them EVERY DAY.
There are currently over 100,000 lawsuits against six different manufacturers.
That is just the number of lawsuits. There are a number of products for both POP, and SUI that the lawsuits are focusing on. Most are still on the market today. They are NOT possibly all “Lawyer-generated hype”. There are thousands more reported complications, and who knows how many thousands go UN-reported. Worse yet, there are more and more people limping into doctor offices every day complaining of problems after having surgery with mesh – because they are STILL putting it IN people, left and right!
Just as the FDA reported that severe complications from mesh are “NOT RARE”, well, neither are these people suffering from the complications. They are NOT rare, and NOT alone. And, other than these annoying lawyers ads – they are NOT even being acknowledged much of the time, let alone finding a lot of support or help.
The vast majority of them are certainly NOT getting rich. Most I’ve met, have not received any money, and can’t even afford to have the medical treatment they need. So, anyone out there thinking all these people are sue-happy idiots crying wolf, and raking in the money – THINK AGAIN.
Mesh Complications are SEVERE and Life-Altering
People who do not know about mesh complications, and only see these lawyer ads, do not get it. They just don’t have any idea just how serious, and life-altering mesh complications are. Not only for the person suffering, but also for their spouses, their children, etc. People are losing their jobs, insurance, homes, relationships. It’s not okay.
Mesh is meant to be permanent. So, when there are complications they are not only usually severe, but also not easily resolved. While pretty much every OB/GYN, Urologist, and UroGyn knows how to put mesh IN, there’s only a handful of doctors that can take it OUT. Even when people can get to one of the few experts, frequently the damage already done is permanent. As if that isn’t bad enough, the complications can keep progressing as the mesh erodes and works its way through your tissues, organs, etc.
The complications are summed up in the FDA report, as follows:
The most frequently reported complications from surgical mesh include:
“mesh becoming exposed or protruding out of the vaginal tissue (erosion), pain, infection, bleeding, pain during sexual intercourse, organ perforation from surgical tools used in the mesh placement procedure, and urinary problems. Some reports cited the need for additional surgeries or hospitalization to treat complications or to remove the mesh.”
My story has to do with pain in groin/leg area, and mobility primarily. Turns out, I wasn’t alone either. Many have issues walking, and wind up using canes, crutches, wheel chairs and/or basically being bed/couch bound. What I thought was going to be a minor, outpatient surgery wound up throwing my whole life upside down when at 46 years of age, I had a simple mesh sling implanted for SUI. Suddenly, I could barely walk. I felt dependent on my husband and children. Being in pain, and not being able to walk is a problem, for sure. However, I have talked to countless women who make my story sound like a walk in the park.
Many more have chronic pain, infections, and inflammation. They have damaged bladders, colons, urethras, nerves, vaginal walls and so much more. These are major issues. Debilitating, life-changing problems, that often keep getting worse and worse and lead to surgery, after surgery (after surgery!). Not only are mobility, pain and dyspareunia problems, but we’re talking self catheterization and colostomy bags here people!
What’s worse is many women with complications go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Some are just told to live with it. Many are told they are “the only one”. Yeah. Right. Think again.
The comments I see on this blog, either sent to me privately, or posted publicly are just heartbreaking. Women saying things like,
“PLEASE SOMEONE LISTEN AND HEAR ME… I AM BEGGING FOR HELP. PLEASE….”,
“I am suffering for 17 years now. I have pain all the time. I had the surgery twice. I went back a third time and my doctor refused to see me.”
“I’ve been living in hell after having mesh surgery for Sui. After going to 3 doctors who all said there’s nothing they can do, I found your blog”
Mesh Complications are “NOT RARE”
I feel the need to repeat this. A lot. I frequently hear the argument that “every surgery has risks”, and many think the percentage of people who actually suffer from complications from mesh is only 1% or 2%. This is because many doctors are reporting out-dated studies that were done BY the mesh manufacturers, or they are not reporting complications at all. Many just deny or do not recognize complications are from the mesh, until there is no denying it. There are also more recent studies that indicate complications are as high as 36%. Of course any study can be bias, and it’s difficult to know how accurate those stats are. Regardless, the FDA’s July 2011 warning specifically said that complications are “NOT rare”. This was a direct change and correction from their previous warning where they indicated the opposite (that complications were rare). Obviously, the stats were great enough for them to change that statement and put out the July 2011 warning.
“Not rare” is rather vague, though, isn’t it? Still, it doesn’t sound very promising. Who wants to take a “not rare” risk? especially when there ARE other options that are simply just not offered or mentioned much of the time? The more I’ve researched the stats, the less promising they sound. The fact that there are over 100,000 lawsuits is also pretty telling. Mesh has the “added risk” of erosion, and all that goes with that. The FDA even warns that there is NOT evidence that mesh repairs have any clinical benefit over non-mesh repairs. Yet, many are not told this, and are not even offered any alternatives.
Most people with mesh complications are NOT getting better, so, they are NOT going away.
Not only that, but doctors keep implanting mesh all the time, especially for SUI and hernia repairs so there are MORE and MORE people turning up with complications. Chances are if you walked into your OB/GYN office TODAY and said that you pee a little when you sneeze, they will not think twice about implanting YOU with some mesh, or tape, or whatever they want to call it now. Most of these products are made of the same material, polypropylene, and they ARE causing MAJOR, life-altering, changes for MANY. Even the FDA says complications are NOT RARE, so we are not talking about just a few freak accidents here. The mesh-injured need help! REAL HELP. And, I don’t just mean a lawyer. They need DOCTORS that can actually help them, and they need SUPPORT.
These annoying lawyer ads you see all over the TV are NOT just for older, out-dated, no longer in use, mesh. I wish they were, but no… they are for all kinds… and most are still on the market and being used. Many doctors are spouting MYTHS generated by the manufacturers. Please check all the facts before you get mesh.
Can you hear me now? How about now? Now?
Sometimes, it seems the only ones listening ARE the lawyers. ?! Like many people, I have never been a fan of lawsuits, or lawyers in general. But, guess what? Sometimes, you NEED a lawyer. Sometimes, people/companies/manufacturers DESERVE to be sued. Of course, like everything else, you have to be careful, because there ARE many law firms out there that do NOT care at all about helping you, and are only interested in lining their own pockets. Greed runs rampant. Many women are getting hooked into lawsuits and lending companies, taking advances for surgeries they need, and wind up OWING more money than they will ever get back. So, I’m NOT saying the lawyer ads are all on the up and up. They are not. But, at least they ARE acknowledging this issue.
Most doctors are still promoting the use of mesh. I keep hearing of doctors saying that repairs with mesh will last longer, but the FDA warns there is NO evidence that mesh provided any greater clinical benefit than non-mesh surgeries. Many doctors promote the idea that any “older” and “bad” mesh is no longer being used. Or that the FDA warnings were “only for mesh for POP“. Or that the lawsuits only involve older mesh products used for POP. This is simply NOT true.
Most Urology and Urogynecology organizations, like AUGs, as well as doctors, physical therapists, and other specialists that meet those dealing with mesh complications – often act as though the mesh-injured are invisible. They don’t seem to like to hear us mention anything about “Mesh” when we limp into their office with pain and complications.
Ironically, more websites are popping up from doctors saying they specialize in mesh-removal non-mesh repairs, and pelvic reconstruction. Some doctors are even joining our support groups. They seem to want the mesh-injured individuals (complication support groups , pages, blogs, forums, etc.), to mention them in a good light, and refer our hurt friends to them. That’s good thing, right? Well, it’s good IF they can actually help people. There is no doubt that we need more doctors that can actually help, and to take an interest. It does raise other questions, though. Like, how many of these doctors ARE actually helping? I mean, even if they WANT to help, are they capable of removing all the mesh? And, if they don’t, is that really helping? I have heard many women who go into surgery, thinking their doctor is experienced and will remove all their mesh, only to find the doctor only removed a small piece of the mesh. Sometimes, they even implant more mesh in the process. Women wind up having surgery after surgery, and more and more complications. But, that is another topic…
My point here (and I do have one) is that IF there are more doctors stepping up and saying they can help with mesh removal, and more of them actually doing partial removal after partial removal… then, WHY is it that most of the medical community still does not want to admit we even exist? Not publicly anyway. Why? What is it that makes so many doctors so resistant to discussing mesh complications openly?
Is it peer pressure? Because many of them, and/or their colleagues, are still advocating for the use of mesh?
Are they just in major denial? Because if they were to acknowledge that mesh is causing so much harm, that would mean they would have to also admit they were part of ruining so many lives, and that is just too much to fathom? Are they worried about losing money? I’m referring to money from the surgeries, from research and clinical studies, or even from being paid consultants with the mesh manufacturers? Are they afraid of all the lawsuits? Granted, yes, there ARE a lot of lawsuits. Over 100,000 lawsuits, actually, but those are against six different mesh manufacturers – not the doctors. Are they being brainwashed by the Mesh Manufacturers? The FDA? AUGs?? Do they just not care? Are they really still just completely in the dark about what is happening and the truth about mesh? Do they think we, the patients, can not possibly know anything valid, and are not capable of understanding what they believe, and why they believe it?
Whatever the reasons, it is clear that the majority of them do not want us to even mention the “M” word in their offices… or on their public Facebook pages… YouTube videos… websites… etc. I know this, because I have had many of my comments deleted from such places. God forbid you mention the FDA warnings and ask legitimate questions. There are a few that will actually engage and respond, or allow me to post a link – and to them, I am VERY thankful! There ARE good docs out there.
But, even many of the “good” doctor’s seem to want to bury their heads in the sand, and just avoid the whole “mesh mess”. So, the mesh-injured individuals are commonly bounced around like ping-pong balls between specialists. All too often mesh is never even identified, or acknowledged, as the problem. If/when it is, many are still told we they are “the only ones” having such problems, and rather than send them to one of the few experts that actually CAN remove the mesh fully, they are instead sentenced to a life of repeated surgeries, and chronic pain management.
But, hey – maaaaaybe they will win a lawsuit, right?
Those with lawsuits, should probably not be holding their breath for some big payout. This has already been going on for years. For most, their lawsuit may never pan out… and will likely never come close to covering their surgeries, and related losses, IF/WHEN it ever actually does pay. Because lets face it – we are up against major companies like Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific, etc., – and they can and WILL appeal cases that are won, drag things out, and twist things around to their favor. They are making billions on this in the mean time, and they can afford to do just that. No, we need a lot more than just lawyer ads and lawsuits to help fix this mesh mess.
So, before you roll your eyes at that annoying Lawyer ad, or maybe start mocking, judging or pointing fingers at the ones they are directed towards – please think twice, and KNOW the FACTS about mesh.
Parts of this post were pulled from other related posts on this blog.
==============Related Blog Posts================
- Lawyer Ads are NOT Enough. We Need HELP!
- Doctors Promoting “New” Mesh
- It’s NOT enough. We need help!
- Mesh-Injured People: NOT rare. NOT going away. NOT getting SUPPORT!
- Are you a GOOD mesh? Or a BAD mesh?
- Searching for Docs Experienced with FULL Mesh Removal, and/or NON-Mesh Repairs
- Partial vs. Full Mesh Removal Surgery
- Were you told that you were the “only one”?
- Top 10 Myths Woman are Told Today about Pelvic Mesh
- Top 10 Things to Know About Mesh BEFORE Having Surgery for POP or SUI
Perhaps even more helpful than articles, is talking to a variety of others who are suffering from mesh complications, and are in various stages of treatment. Three of the larger support groups I found helpful are:
- Women’s POP/SUI TVMesh Complications Support (Closed Group)
- Fighters And Survivors of All Transvaginal Mesh And Hernia Mesh/Plugs (Closed Group)
- Mesh Problems (PUBLIC/OPEN TO ALL, including doctors, etc)
- More resources listed on the footer/main page of this blog!
===============COMMENTS from those hurt by mesh============
Here are more comments from women in the CLOSED support groups, which I am sharing with their permission. These and other comments can be found on this post: https://meshmenot.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/help/, and other posts throughout this blog: :
“I had just turned 40 when I had my mesh implanted, and was a fitness nut, walking/biking/rollerblading every day. I was the healthiest I had ever been in my life at that point, other than the slight prolapse and SUI. Feel so bad for my husband (and myself) that our sex life had to end when we were barely 40 years old – not to mention the loss of all those years of my income that we now face. It shouldn’t matter how old we are, everyone’s life should matter equally, but maybe people would listen more if they realized it happens to women in their 30s and 40s, too. I think there are even a few in their 20’s in our group – horrible!!” – Janet, May 2015
“I was only 37, now 39 and I’m ruined for the rest of my life. I was also a health nut and workout freak. Incredibly fit before mesh. Trained 3 times a week with trainer. I was so active. Now I’m bedridden. …Most I walk is around my garden some days.” – anonymous, May 2015
“I just found out today that a friend who had prolapse after her miscarriage, had tvt mesh put in 2 weeks ago. This was after her talking with me and saying she will never get mesh in her body after seeing what I have been through. Well guess what? Her surgeon talked her into getting it, saying that I was not a “reliable example” and that my situation is “rare”. Well guess who was in the hospital today with extreme pain and infection? Yep my poor friend who is in her 20s. She said only 2 weeks after tvt mesh was put in and she said I wish I didn’t listen to that doctor. She said she knew she shouldn’t of had it done, but her doc told her it was only alternative. I feel sick about it.” – anonymous, May 2015