While mesh-injured Americans have been trying to raise the profile on their injuries and the fact that mesh use is ongoing in this country, Scottish women managed to speak directly to their government and the government listened!
What made the difference? The fact that one can petition the government directly. The women testified to a Petitions Committee which allowed their voices to be heard in a timely manner.
Here is a copy of their petition.
Secondly, the country has public medicine. There is less influence of industry and sales reps over doctors and hospitals since there is less medicine for profit.
Health Secretary Alex Neil did not trust official numbers of suffering women. He suspected they must be much larger than the 300-400 reports and was struck by the fact that doctors report complications voluntarily. In Scotland health regulators had received only 12 reports of adverse events.
Many in Scotland, as in the U.S., decide they would rather not disclose a less than ideal outcome for a medical procedure.
It's been estimated that the numbers of adverse events tallied by the FDA represent one to 10 percent of actual numbers for example. With 1,800 Scottish women implanted, the complication or adverse event rates could be as high as one in four or 25 percent said women who testified, part of Scottish Mesh Survivors.
Mr. Neil said he did not want to risk any more injuries.
Last but not least, the Scottish Mesh Survivors bravely faced their government and revealed the most intimate details of their health, how they had been treated by doctors and what little input they had in their own decision making. As in the U.S. most patients are told little about the complications and are left to figure it out largely on their own by doctors who say they've never seen mesh injuries.
Here are the headlines generated last week as the country became the first in the globe to stop the use of mesh products for women pelvic support. Men and women with hernia mesh were left out of this equation.
Page One - Sunday Mail, June 22, 2104 - "Cheers and Tears as Health Secretary Suspends Operations"
Page Two - Sunday Mail, June 22, 2014 - "Health Secretary on Why He Suspended Mesh"
Watch the entire hearing on BBC Democracy Live here.
Scottish Petition Here.