Surgical Mesh Complications Tear Lives Apart

Jane Akre
March 25, 2013
Linda Felts

Linda Felts

March 25, 2013~ First Coast News Jacksonville has just aired the latest mesh complication story at its Gannett station. See the story here.

"The pain was severe enough that I couldn’t stay still on the bed."

"It just became unbearable. I went into seclusion from this."

These are some of the comments from the four women interviewed by reporter Heather Crawford.

Barbara Carter had a sling for urinary incontinence.

Barbara Carter

Barbara Carter

"The next morning after surgery, I knew something wasn't right," she said. "I had pain where I had never had pain before. I told my doctor when we went in the next morning I couldn't move my body. My legs hurt so bad, he told me I would get better. I didn't get better I got worse."

Three years later another doctor told her the mesh had eroded into her bladder and intestines.

Crawford reports in 2008 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first issued a warning which said mesh complications were “rare” even though thousands of reports of complications were coming into the agency.

[What Crawford fails to report is that the FDA in July 2011 issued a second, more strongly worded Safety Communication that complications are “not rare” and that mesh surgery complications may outweigh any benefit. See it here.] *Editors note.

This is key information for the public to know.

Henry Garrard

Henry Garrard

Georgia attorney Henry Garrard of Athens represents about 2,700 women including the women interviewed, Linda Felts, Elizabeth Greene and Barbara Carter. They have filed product liability lawsuits against the five major mesh manufacturers.

Garrard wants mesh taken off the market. “That tells you the breadth of it. It is a national catastrophe," he says.

The story also includes an interview with hernia surgeon Dr. Bruce Ramshaw of Daytona Beach Florida (here).

Dr. Bruce Ramshaw

Dr. Bruce Ramshaw

He helped one of the women in the piece who had been suffering with the effects of a hernia implant.

"And you can see they are like a screen door screen and they come out of the package nice and soft but in the body in some people, they can undergo pretty significant reactions and they can get brittle. They can get more hard. They can crunch up into a ball or like a rock, but it's variable. The same exact mesh in two different patients can do very different things," he said.

Ramshaw said while eroded mesh doesn't always cause pain, it certainly can. Pain so severe he said has had at least one patient commit suicide. Dr. Ramshaw estimates up to three percent of patients he sees will have complications, though the complication rate has been seen at 30% in studies conducted by mesh makers concerning the same polypropylene mesh used to shore up pelvic organs.

Even so, he says up to hundreds of thousands of women and men may be affected.

Irene Hicks had her hernia mesh removed and now says she is 80 percent back to normal.

Carter concludes the story by saying, “A lot of women could be spared suffering. I did have a life before this. I don’t have a life anymore. I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

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