Doctor Disconnect?

Jane Akre
April 9, 2013
Surgeons at work, U.S. Army, Wikicommons
Surgeons at work, U.S. Army, Wikicommons

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, April 9, 2013 ~

Doctors say their credo is to put patients first.  Why then do so many women talk about the conversations they have with their doctors after they start to feel their implanted mesh is causing complications and not providing a cure?  

Across the board doctors say something like this:

  •        "It’s not the mesh"
  •         "Give it more time"
  •         "You’re the only one"
  •         "I’ve never seen this before"
  •        "How is your mental health? Would you consider taking antidepressants?"

That is when they talk to women at all.   One women’s family emailed me with this:

“Jane, I am sitting in a hotel room here in Washington DC.  Flew in from far west Texas to see a doctor to consult about mesh removal for my mom. This doctor was highly recommended.   My mom is in such pain and has been for two years…the flight alone was hell.  She was a very active woman prior to having this put in her.
“This was a waste of time and money as the doctor here acted like this was no big deal and referred us to some urogynecologist in Albuquerque.
"Jane, I don’t know what to do.  I have never seen my mom cry like this.  I have never seen her so weak and scared.  No one in my web research will say with clarity who to trust.  I am flying back home tomorrow with my mom and I am more confused than ever. My mom is saying things like “I just give up.”
"What do I do?  PLEASE PLEASE give me any guidance you can.”

The woman left her phone number and email.  Her mother turned up in a cursory Google search to be who she claimed. I called the daughter and everything checked out. They went back home to begin their search again for some help.

I’m not a doctor or a lawyer. It is a very sad commentary when someone has to turn to a journalist and website creator for medical advice. I generally turn the women on to some patients who have advocated for themselves and now help others.

So why the doctor disconnect?  The commonly held professional oath “First do no harm” may not be considered relevant to today’s medicine, reports this PBS story.

One reader says she's thought for days about the doctor disconnect - why doctors seem to be ignoring their female patients when they report mesh complaints:

        “It was as if the doctors didn't have a damn clue on the complications from mesh. Who would have told them? Not the manufactures. They never told anyone. But how could the doctors not have started complaining and loudly to the medical device manufacturers when all these problems started happening? These are horrible, horrible, painful complications. I still don't know why more questions aren’t being raised on using mesh in sexually active women. Doesn’t matter if it is POP or and SUI. I think the question is still out there that it should not be used in sexually active women. I just can't understand why doctors are still so willing to use mesh. There are so many of us. Last count I saw was 16,000. Every doctor out there should have seen by now one or two of us. How can it just be ignored? How can they still be implanting a "permanent device" with no way to get it out, even though those of who have been so injured did just that. What is the AUGS plan for removal after such horrible complications? How are we injured women to go on with our lives? What is their plan to help us when it does go wrong and it will for many?”

Linda Gross

Not all doctors are ignoring their patients. We just saw an example from the Linda Gross v. Ethicon trial of a very dedicated doctor from Watertown, South Dakota, Dr. Clark Likness,  who stuck with Ms. Gross for years as she reported her debilitating injuries. He reached out to other specialists to help Ms. Gross. Read about him during Day Three of the trial here.

Sometimes it takes just one person to begin a flood of conversation.  Thank you to Dr. Robert Bendavid for discussing his history with surgical mesh going from  an industry consultant to now performing surgeries at the Shouldice Clinic in Toronto. His story is here.

Are there other doctors who would like to comment on how they handle the mesh complications they've seen in their practice?

Thank you in advance.

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