Letter to Insurance Carriers Over Mesh Mess

Jane Akre
May 2, 2018
Image: Big Insurance, from Knowledge Safari

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, May 2, 2018~ Many readers were led to their first mesh implant by an insurance provider. It was the preferred method to have a 20-minute procedure during which a mesh was implanted rather than have a more extensive bladder tack or a hernia surgery using sutures alone.

Never mind the harvesting of one's own fascia to create a bladder sling that is natural to the body should not spark any foreign body response.  But now we see very clearly that the expedience of a procedure, that resulted from insurance falling into lockstep with industry, does not always yield the best results for the patient.

So now reader, it is up to you to advocate for your own care and often that means revisiting your insurance provider and becoming a squeaky wheel!

Please consider using this letter, or anything strongly worded, to request big insurance deal with the realities of what this manufacturer-generated problem has created.

You may be seeking a mesh revision or a consult.  You need your insurance provider to pay for your visit to the best possible expert you can find, not just the closest doc in your  zip code!

You need to consult with someone who specializes in complications!  Period.  Here is the original MND article with the letter.

To Whom It May Concern-

Here is a suggested Open Letter to insurers to help them gain some understanding of this mesh mess.

I’m writing as a mesh-injured woman who is desperately trying to seek help from a doctor experienced in mesh-related injuries. This might include a urologist or urogynecologist who has experience in removing pelvic mesh that has migrated, eroded, broken apart, perforated organs, folded, frayed and perforated nerves, not to mention the systemic issues such as autoimmune disease that often erupts after being implanted with polypropylene pelvic mesh.

There are very few competent medical doctors around the country who are dealing with the hundreds of thousands of women who are now experiencing the complications from this mesh. Through the mesh-injured community, we are becoming aware of these doctors.

I am seeking a referral to a doctor who has experience in removing polypropylene mesh from the pelvic region, not just the closest and most cost-effective for the insurance company. This may be a matter of life or death – mine.

As you know this mesh was implanted in me and thousands of others to hold up pelvic organs that may be falling through the vagina. Like thousands of others, it has only caused problems that can be described as life-altering. As I write this, the mesh is migrating toward my bowel, a condition that can lead to fatal sepsis (this is one example, use your own).

There are currently at least 120,000 lawsuits filed against mesh manufacturers for marketing a defective product without any FDA clearance for safety and efficacy. These are not lawsuits generated by hysterical women. The injuries are real and not imagined. In many cases they are permanent.

Juries across the country have determined that pelvic mesh was defectively designed, yet many meshes remain on the market. Some doctors still mistakenly refer to them as the “Gold Standard.”  Clearly marketing and medicine have married to create this huge disconnect.  No Gold Standard would wound so many.  Remember it was frequently the insurance companies that led women to doctors who implanted these products.  Doctors have admitted on the stand they were unaware of the dangers and had been made false promises by sales reps from the major mesh makers.

All of the problematic mesh, whether for prolapse (POP) or incontinence (SUI) is made from polypropylene and they are all substantially similar. They were all approved by the Food and Drug Administration as substantially equivalent to a “predicate device,” the ProteGen, which was eventually taken off the market for being defective.

I should not be in this position. I should never have had mesh implanted for a condition, not a disease. I should have received true informed consent. I did not. There are safer alternatives that have been known for decades, before mesh manufacturers began coaching doctors on this new “minimally-invasive” technique that would yield them greater profits in the shortest amount of time.

Insurance companies supported this procedure we now know was experimental and never underwent clinical trials for safety. I should never have to beg for my insurer to send me to the proper professional who very well may save my life.

But that is where I find myself.

A friend recently made signs and, along with supporters, petitioned in front of the insurers’ hospital to receive a referral to UCLA’s urology department, considered the most experienced in the world for mesh removals. Within about 20 minutes, she received that referral.  Is that what it takes?

I remain adamant that I receive a referral to the specialist of my choice based on the recommendations of others who have had successful mesh removals.  Together we can work on determine the best doctor to address my problems, as soon as is reasonably possible.

I encourage the insurance company to gain a better understanding of the breadth of the problem because women are requiring multiple surgeries when the first doctor, the one closest to the patient who is the most cost-effective, may leave remnants of polypropylene behind to wreak havoc, migrate, shrink and continue to incite a foreign body response. That creates a “ticking time bomb” as the long-term effects have never been studied in clinical trials. We are essentially the lab rats.  

As is typical, one partial removal leads to another and then another adding unnecessary cost to the insurer and a burden to my quality of life.  Isn’t it preferable to get the best surgical outcome in as few surgeries as possible?  

Since insurers initially paid for these mesh implants, it is now time to step up and do the right thing- cover explant surgeries by reliable, experienced surgeons.

Please advise me on the next step needed. I look forward to talking further with your representatives who have direct authority over my case and have the authority to issue a referral. Time is of the essence here.

To deny them the proper medical care adds insult to these horrendous injuries.


(your name here)

I am supplying you with stories that will back up my assertions here. Please read them and become knowledgeable about this issue.

Learn More Here:

Dr. Veronikis on Mesh injuries


Doctors Speak out on Mesh Injuries


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