This story comes from Lucy Adams, a BBC Scotland reporter. She profiled Aberdeen University’s Professor Mohamed Abdel-fattah who, seven years ago, authored an influential research paper promoting TVT-O (transobturator) mesh as a treatment for incontinence.
The professor has now corrected that research paper after a whistleblower outed him as failing to declare $130,856 (US dollars) in funding from mesh maker, Coloplast. The Coloplast-funded study concluded there were no complications three years after TVT-O surgery.
Profesor Abdel-fattah is the Clinical Chair in Gynaecology at the University of Aberdeen who says information about the research grant he received was “inadvertently omitted” from the original disclosure.
Coloplast was the manufacturer of the transobturator mesh, so named because it passes through the obturator space.
At the time it was the most commonly performed bladder surgery in Scotland, reports Adams, and it is also used in England.
It has been found to be defectively designed in several U.S. product liability trials.
It’s estimated more than 100,000 women in the UK (20,000 in Scotland) underwent a polypropylene mesh implant procedure. Currently, more than 800 women are suing the National Health Service and mesh maker, reports the BBC.
Researcher and gynecologist, Dr. Wael Agur, MD made the complaint of misconduct to the GMC, General Medical Council, citing that the study at the time was “highly influential” in that it reassured the public and doctors that the use of mesh is safe.
“The women trusted us to do the right thing and we thought at the time that we were doing the right thing.”
Dr. Agur has worked with Scottish Mesh Survivors to have the procedure and use of the products overturned in Scotland.
In Scotland the government called for an immediate halt to the use of mesh until a new “restricted use protocol” is established after mesh was cited as contributing to the death of a Scottish woman, Eileen Baxter.
Baxter, 75, died last August in an Edinburgh hospital of multiple organ failure, and an anterior rectal perforation and possibly sepsis after a sacrocolpopexy mesh repair, which was named as an underlying factor.
Her health had reportedly declined after the procedure five years earlier.
Sacrocolpopexy uses polypropylene mesh to attach the pelvic organs to bone to return the organs to their original position. Additional mesh is sometimes used and placed transvaginally, to position the bladder and the rectum. See more on Victoria Derbyshire here.
However, unlike most transvaginal mesh placements, a sacrocolpopexy mesh is implanted through the abdomen. It is still being used in both countries as well as the U.S.
An investigation into Baxter’s death is underway by medical personnel at NHS Lothian. The family will forward questions to the health board, according to a story in the Daily Record in December.
Despite a suspension on mesh implant in 2014 in Scotland, about 750 women have been implanted since then, writes reporter Marion Scott.
Mesh is still used in England but is restricted to a last resort. ##
Sling the Mesh Campaign time line in UK
Publications by the professor:
MND, Scottish Mesh Ban Continues with Your Help, July 24, 2017
MND, Scotland Calls for Criminal Investigation into Boston Scientific and Counterfeit Mesh Allegations, September 2016
MND, Pelvic Mesh Procedures Halted in Scotland, June 2016
MND, Scotland Becomes First Country Suspend Use of Pelvic Mesh, June 2014