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Death of a Pelvic Mesh Fighter – “I Don’t Want This to Happen to Anybody”

Chrissy and Tony Brajcic

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, December 6, 2017 ~ The last years of her life were spent educating and sharing on social media- talking about the life hers had become – one of pain and suffering after a TVT pelvic mesh implant to treat incontinence. 

Christina Lynn Brajcic of Windsor, Ontario had emerged as a leader of Canadian women suffering pelvic mesh complications. Her message was heard internationally and when Canadian television was looking for a representative, Chrissy was chosen.

Always looking well put together and glamorous, she was interviewed and videotaped for a September CTV special on Mesh Misery. (Here).  It reported a 2-15% complication rate following permanent mesh implants, much lower for hernia repair, using the same mesh.

Chrissy’s Post, November 27, 2017.

She launched a Facebook Live with interactive questions to raise awareness, not unlike a Mesh TV show, she said. She wanted to make sure polypropylene (PP) pelvic mesh or hernia mesh also made of PP, was not implanted in anybody else.

Among the last posts of Chrissy the Fab, as she was known, talked about the relentless infections that would return despite treatment with antibiotics.

“Literally couldn’t move talk I was dying, I couldn’t breathe….How did this happen how do I go from infection to heart failure?”

“I’m fighting hard”

“I can’t wait to get back to my old self and get back to being an advocate. I don’t want this to happen to anybody.”

Her last picture appeared on Facebook November 27. She looked pale and weak but held her fist up. She expected two more weeks of antibiotics, “the really strong stuff.”

“But finally beat sepsis again and I’m ready to kick some butt again. This mesh madness has to stop. Thanks for all the love….”

Chrissy lost her fight on November 30th. Her husband Tony says she was a strong fighter right up to the very end.

Ultimately her heart couldn’t continue the fight.

Now her family is planning her memorial. It is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 8th at 2 PM at the Kingdom Hall, 6870 Hawthorne Dr., Windsor, Ontario, N8T 1J9.

Tony asks for privacy during this time and, “Thank you all her friends and family who had given her all the much needed support over the past few year!”

For those who cannot attend, a candlelight memorial is being planned.

 

CHRISSY’S PASSING

Brajcic attorney, Paul Miller

Her attorney Paul Miller tells MND, he is, “Shocked and saddened to hear of her passing. I got the news from a CTV producer… it’s a complete shock”

He will consider amending her complaint filed against Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson), maker of the TVT Exact she received four years ago, but is awaiting the result of an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Dr. Vladimir Iakovlev, a pathologist from Toronto who has an extensive experience with mesh explants, will share with the Windsor, Ontario coroner his knowledge of which tissues should be preserved to answer any mesh-related questions, now and in the future.

He is not involved directly in this case. See more on the pathologist here. 

The coroner’s office will make its assessment as it routinely does, to determine the immediate cause of death.

Chrissy had recently been hospitalized for a return of sepsis, a bacterial infection which antibiotics could no longer address.

Dr. Vladimir Iakovlev

Dr. Iakovlev tells MND, Information from autopsy alone may determine the immediate cause of death but may not answer all questions. The previous lab tests and history have additional information. For example, if the focus is on chronic infection, it could be urosepsis which can come from recurrent UTI spikes or the cause can be in the kidneys, bladder or other site. 

“It has to be put all together, autopsy findings and previous labs.

Any background conditions, a history of the development of her sepsis and how it’s related to the cause of death will require a thorough analysis of the medical history.

At the time of her death, Chrissy said she was on 15 different drugs and was getting weaker and she experienced right-sided heart weakness. She spent most of her time in bed with her two sons by her side.

Quite a departure from the woman of years earlier. Prior to June 2013, Chrissy was athletic and, according to her videos, she had a six-pack and enjoyed boxing. She was an interior designer and sold Argonne cosmetics on the side. But she lost the ability to work and was unable to participate in athletic, social and household activities with her family.

Chrissy had been undergoing Phage treatment.  Phages are bacterial agents in humans treated with phage therapy. It involves using bacteriophages to target pathogenic bacteria and kill them. Phages are an antibacterial agent that increase in numbers in the presence of bacterial targets.

Phage targeting was largely replaced by the use of antibiotics after World War II but was rediscovered in the 1980s. Phage treatment is an alternative approach when bacterial contamination is increasingly resistant to treatment such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

 

THE LAWSUIT

Christina Brajcic filed her lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson Inc, Ethicon Inc and Gynecare Worldwide in Ontario Superior Court of Justice on April 29, 2015. Case No. CV-15-22181.

The complaint seeks general damages in the amount of $346,154 and punitive damages in the amount of $5 million.  Special damages in an amount to be determined.

“The particulars of which will be provided prior to trial.”

She received no informed consent, even after the Health Canada warning? Doc said there was nothing to worry about the bad mesh was off the market.

Attorney Paul Miller, then at Will Davidson, filed the action. It says:

Brajcic lives in Windsor, in the Province of Ontario.  She received a Gynecare Tension Free Vaginal Tape “Exact”, also known as TVT on or about June 25, 2013. It was used to treat her stress urinary incontinence.  Almost immediately she suffered pelvic pain, infections and dyspareunia. She had trouble urinating and suffered ongoing infections.  She continued to take pain medication on an ongoing basis.

“As a result of having the mesh implanted, Christina has experienced significant physical psychological and emotional pain and suffering, and has sustained permanent and debilitating injuries. Furthermore, despite having the procedure, Christina continues to experience problems with incontinence.”

Attempts to remove the mesh have failed.  Christina continues to lose income as she is unable to work.

The complaint outlines what Gynecare/Ethicon knew or should have known:

  • Whether mesh would withstand movement within the pelvis
  • Whether mesh would erode within the body causing pain, suffering and infections
  • Whether mesh erosion could cause nerve and vascular damage
  • Who would have adverse reactions to a foreign body implanted
  • How to completely remove the mesh
  • It was impossible to implant mesh through the vagina without an infection
  • The mesh could cause sexual relations to become extremely painful or impossible
  • How to train specialized surgeons to implant mesh properly
  • There was insufficient scientific information with no studies longer than six months
  • That a study on mesh had to be discontinued because of the rate of complications
  • Post market studies were essential
  • That risks to women were extremely high and the extent of damage mesh could cause
  • That blind insertion of mesh could damage the Plaintiff
  • They knew it was their duty to conduct appropriate testing of the mesh before introducing it for use to the public
  • That their representatives had an obligation to make accurate statements about safety and efficacy but failed to do so
  • That abdominal muscles are stronger and thicker than the tissue of the anterior and posterior vagina
  • That the mesh used on the plaintiff was too inelastic and infeasible for tissue and motion of the pelvis
  • Unpublished studies were proof the mesh should not be implanted in women
  • And that they had an obligation to adequately warn doctors of mesh’s known dangers
  • That they had a continuing obligation to conduct testing and studies and update the medical community

“As a result of the negligence of the Defendants, Christina has suffered and will continue to suffer a loss of enjoyment of life as a result of her injuries.”

And as to punitive damages:

The Plaintiff, Christina, pleads that the Defendants have conducted themselves in a highhanded, wanton and reprehensible manner which warrants the awarding of punitive and/or exemplary damages.”

 

Chrissy outpouring on FAcebook

MEANING IN DEATH

It will be up to Chrissy’s followers to turn grief into meaningful long-term action.  See Monday Mindfulness – in memory of Chrissy.  A petition is underway in her honor to reach the inner chambers of Canadian Parliament.

Her story is being echoed across the internet and there will be wreaths of flowers from her followers at her Friday memorial service.

I don’t want this to happen to anybody” was Chrissy’s true wish. Knowledge, information, education were her goals, and by all accounts, she did it brilliantly, as her many followers attested.

“Chrissy, your passing has given the world greater awareness of mesh destruction. You didn’t die in vain. We will keep fighting. 

A request for comment from Ethicon, (J&J), the maker of her pelvic mesh, had gone unanswered by publishing time.

In the September CTV story on mesh injuries, the company responded:

We empathize with all women suffering from stress urinary incontinence, a condition that can be serious and debilitating. Pelvic mesh devices have helped millions of women suffering from stress urinary incontinence. There are limited treatment choices for women with stress urinary incontinence seeking to improve their quality of life, including surgical treatment with implantable mesh, which is backed by years of clinical research and is considered by most doctors to be the gold standard treatment. Ethicon is confident in the positive impact our pelvic mesh products have had on the vast majority of women who have chosen this treatment option. In addition, the evidence shows that Ethicon acted appropriately and responsibly in the research, development and marketing of its TVT device for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence.”   ###

26 Comments

  1. Joann R says:

    When I had the PoP mesh surgery in 2008 everything was fine. About year and half later is when all my problems started. I have trouble with my hips could the inplant cause this

    • Jane Akre says:

      One has to be careful about blaming everything on mesh, however, I’ve heard repeated stories about women having a different gait, falling down and even having a hip implant. See Deb Mesh Me Not. But it makes sense if there is mesh shrinkage in a portion of your pelvis that it would change the alignment of your pelvis.

    • Kitty says:

      It absolutely could be a problem think about the shrinking mesh pulling at sacral ligaments…

  2. jacqui scott says:

    thank you Jane a beautiful tribute to chrissy and no her death will not be in vain i vow to fight to the end untill we stop the use of these dangerous mesh devices

  3. daniees S says:

    J&J you are evil.

  4. Carol Lynn says:

    I just wonder how many more have to die before mesh is banned. Quit using human beings as your guinea pigs after we are humans.
    What is taking these lawsuits so long to get settled?

  5. Carol Lynn says:

    Thank you for doing the story on Chrissy. She will be missed immensely.
    We are going to work even harder now to get this poisonous material banned.

  6. Jan says:

    Christina was an extraordinary person
    We shared a lot of conversations regarding Biofilms when I found I had it also..
    Know matter what she was going through with these infections she was always there to talk with and her life was needlessly taken from her and her family. .
    She did fight hard she wanted to be here fir her children and family
    When will it be enough that the justice system will start working for us all it failed her..
    We have lost a beautiful soul and her sons will now be without there mum.. Her parents should have not had to watch there child pass away from this mesh
    Her husband will be raising 2 children on his own now..
    These manufacturers need to man up and do justice by Chrissy and to the rest of us
    Miss you my friend
    It’s like a nightmare and we can not wake up
    RIP you are now pain free and know more infections and know more antibiotics

  7. Robin says:

    What a tragic loss of such a beautiful person. You did a great job Jane on telling her courageous story. My heart has a void of losing another mesh sister but its also pissed me off to fight harder! In her honor, and for her boys who tragically lost a beautiful mother such a senseless tragedy. Should have never happened to her or any of us! Men & Women unite in the fight for our right, justice must prevail. RIP Chrissy

  8. Emmie says:

    My heartfelt sympathy to Chrissy’s husband, sons, family and friends.
    Gone to soon. R.IP.

    I feel like I lived with her during her ups and downs of suffering . She was a true warrior and I will never forget her.

    Chrissy was a true hero in her fight. So courageous and brave.

  9. daniees S says:

    Since mesh manufacturers keep insurance on their products (Product Liability) the claims and money being paid to victims are coming from their insurance carrier. J&J and others are very comfortable marketing defective products which they knew will be causing even death, and just let the claims all fall under the product liability policy… greed-evil.

    If the insurance companies covering their products start denying the claims, then only then J&J and others will assume the liability and pay out of their pocket and will start feeling the heat and consequently pulled all meshes out of the market.

  10. Ingrid H says:

    Mesh News Desk
    Thank you for all your hard work in keeping MESH awareness going. In loving memory of Chrissy Bracjcic. Holding her family in our hearts.xx

  11. Barbara says:

    My heart ♥️ is broken for her young boys! If we could transfer the pain and disability’s to J&J I know all Mesh makers and implanters would stop Now!
    No one can stand this kind of pain and auto immune diseases ,infections fevers and I am one with different gate and trip on my own feet swelling Always I groan area!,
    The only gold Standerd is in there pockets
    We have Toe Standard it slowly kills with severe torture and pain!
    Until we have a Toe tag in morge ?
    While they count there gold!

  12. ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ Mahatma Gandhi

    For Chrissy, her family and all the other souls PREVENTABLY harmed by FAILED implanted medical devices: we will persist!

  13. Sheila says:

    As I sit here in grief over the loss of yet another mesh sister, I pray that this loss will make the impact Chrissy and ALL of us mesh injured deserve. Will this be what finally brings enough attention to the hazards and horrible side effects of this horrific debacle touted as a solution to a common problem? I certainly hope so. It’s all too clear for many of us what kind of “solution” we were offered. As we all mourn the loss of our beautiful sister, we get to battle the terrible, debilitating effects on our family, our bodies and our mental health as well. We are fighting a war. Not just a physical war but a mental and spiritual one too. We try to keep our heads up as we struggle through each and every day, fighting the physical and emotional pain. While we wait and watch from the sidelines as our lives pass us by. Waiting and praying for healing, putting on a brave face as we try to keep our friends and family from the increasing burden of watching us suffer and miss out on life, living and battling fear, wondering how much longer we have to live? How much more will we have to suffer? What can be done to fix us? How much time has been taken from my family and me because “someone” decided polypropylene mesh was a safe and better alternative to options already available? It’s so difficult to fight the overwhelming anger and fear while feeling all the pain, missing out on life and witnessing it tattoo itself on our loved ones lives as well, but I will take Chrissy’s lead and do my best to keep my faith and fight for life as much as I can. I will continue to tell others my story so they can avoid this travesty that takes and destroys lives. I vow to do my best until I can’t. Chrissy was a true inspiration and deserved better, as did her husband and young sons. May God comfort us and bring us all healing and justice soon. Rest in the Peace of the Heavenly Father Chrissy. May it be. 🙏🏻

  14. daniees S says:

    Sheila, you comfort us all with your kind words.

  15. Lordhelpus says:

    May she rest in peace…Such a beautiful soul and gone so early, so senselessly, and still it all continues to fall on deaf ears. My lawyer sent me a letter telling me that the cases aren’t moving, (as an update), then wished me a happy holidays. So upsetting, (i thought it might be good news when I saw the envelope), for that they should send a stupid card and leave out the rest of the b.s. Please! My fault though, I guess I should’ve known better….

    • Jane Akre says:

      Its not your fault at all!!!#

      • Lordhelpus says:

        Thank you Jane. Sometimes I feel like you’re the only one who really understands us…God bless you.

        • Jane Akre says:

          Thank you. I”m about to put out an appeal. Since advertising dollars a re not enough for me to do this job gathering news.s I’m asking everyone who has gotten anything over the years to send $5 to me via my PAYPAL on page one. That’ a cup of Starbucks. I’d like to keep the news free to you all though some have suggested a paywall. This will allow me to continue doing this and stay on top of the news. Thank you in advance!

  16. Lordhelpus says:

    Please let us know when you do.

  17. Ja says:

    It’s not the mesh alone that kills.. it’s the Bio Film infection that comes from the constant UTI’S of us not able to release all our urine from our bladders. The bio films can attack the organs. Your heart
    And make you have chronic fatigue
    It’s time the FDA takes this stuff off the market
    Mesh should have been tested even more than what it has been
    Protatgen was taken off the market because if all the injuries back in the 90’s.. That product of mesh injured 800 plus women .. Open your eyes manufacturers this Mesh is not good
    I know of a doctor that chose never to use the mesh he advised me he knew there were going to be issue’s God Bless that doctor if I could do this all over I would have chosen that doctor
    For he is a very smart man..
    But when will you the manufacturers wise up and do right by women
    Instead of helping take there lifes..

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