New Zealand Reports of Mesh Injuries, Hundreds Respond

//New Zealand Reports of Mesh Injuries, Hundreds Respond

New Zealand Reports of Mesh Injuries, Hundreds Respond


Carmel Berry, mesh injured in New Zealand

October 29, 2012 ~ The New Zealand Herald reports in a series of articles by Chloe Johnson, on the outcome of mesh surgeries in that country.

Specifically Johnson profiles 18-year-old Samantha Wiggins.

In “Dance Dreams Crushed by Mesh,” Johnson reports Wiggins always dreamed of being a dancer but after she was implanted with surgical mesh to treat an umbilical hernia, bulging tissue near her belly button, those dreams died.

She had already had two operations using stitches to hold in the hernia back when she was ages four and eight. But the hernia bulge returned so in 2007 she had synthetic mesh to treat the hernia.

By 2009 the mesh was causing serious complications and needed replacing, according to the story.

Samantha Wiggins, New Zealand Herald, mesh injured

“I feels like something is cutting inside,” Wiggins says. She’s had to take months off of school and cancel dance lessons. Samantha and her mother said they were never informed about the risks associated with synthetic mesh. Here is the story.

On October 21, Johnson reports on Steve Ross who is in pain and a wheelchair after a controversial mesh surgery to repair a hernia.

In November of last year, Ross had a hernia on the right side of his groin. A polypropylene mesh implant was used on the 48-year-old. Not only in pain, his groin began to swell. Ross had to be hospitalized as one testicle was removed.

Nine months later and a lot of pain killers doctors finally discovered mesh growing into his abdominal wall and entrapping his nerves. Another surgery removed some of the mesh six weeks ago but now the pain is more severe than before. He spends the day in bed.

Ross and hundreds of others contacted the paper after it began to run stories of mesh complications. One woman wrote her husband died from mesh complications.

“Royal Australasian College of Surgeons councilor and surgeon Richard Perry said there was a lack of information available about the mesh despite it being used to repair hernias since the 1970s.  However, he said the introduction of polypropylene surgical mesh had significantly lowered the complication and recurrence rate.  ‘But it has come at its own price and we are still evolving in our learning about meshes.’  ”

He said the college believed mesh was better than the traditional method of stitches. That story appears here.

Steve Ross, mesh injured, New Zealand Herald

Not surprisingly this story in The New Zealand Herald, “Health bodies stand behind surgical mesh, October 7 reports health authorities in New Zealand still stand behind the use of surgical mesh even amid the mounting complications.

The New Zealand Herald series of reports has unleashed a flood of comments from mesh-injured readers who tell “horrific accounts of complications.

Among them Carmel Berry, 48-years-old who says it feels like she’s been “sitting on barbed wire” for eight years. That’s when she had surgery for a prolapsed bladder using polypropylene mesh. She has not been offered mesh removal. With no evidence of injury, only pain, she was denied government compensation.

Since 2008, ACC, Accident Compensation Corporation, a government insurance provider, has reportedly paid more than $3 million in treatment rehab and compensation arising from mesh complications.

One professor, Ajay Rane, who is also the vice president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, refers to the July 2011 FDA warning that omitted injuries associated with hernia mesh, even though it is the same petroleum-based polypropylene mesh.

He believes it is safe, if not, the FDA would have withdrawn it.

The paper gives an email as a way to connect with other patients.  Here is the story.

Heather Anderson, mesh injured, New Zealand Herald

In the first story by Johnson in the series, “Surgical mesh costs millions,” (here), she highlights Heather Anderson, 61, of Auckland, who had mesh surgery for a hernia eight years ago. Anderson  describes it as a “cheese grater” cutting her internal organs.

Gynaecologist Paul Macpherson says he repairs at least one mesh injury a week, yet he still supports the use of mesh to repair tissue weakness. He blamed surgeons from a bad placement.

Meanwhile, Wellington, NZ gynaecologist, Hanifa Koya says she is against the use of mesh due to a lack of research and a lax regulatory process.

By |2012-10-29T21:13:15+00:00October 29th, 2012|Media Reports|8 Comments

About the Author:

I’m National News Editor, Jane Akre and I began Mesh Medical Device News Desk aka Mesh News Desk (MND) in the summer of 2011 just after the Food and Drug Administration issued an explicit warning to the public that complications associated with surgical mesh used for prolapse repair (POP) and incontinence (SUI) are NOT rare! That was the starting point for the litigation you see today and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women whose lives have been altered, some permanently, by the use of this petroleum-based product.


  1. Douglas Lawford July 3, 2013 at 1:44 am - Reply

    I had a mesh piece put in when I had a Hernia, I have been to my doctors so many times I have lost count, I am in pain constantly and have no recourse it seems, I would like to get on the list of New Zealanders who want to join the lawsuit, can you tell me how I become involved…I am sick of being in pain

  2. Timothy Greer July 26, 2013 at 1:31 am - Reply

    Same as above person adding that my stomach is distended to 3 times its size. Constant pain, nausea, and other issues all related to a buldging hernia mesh inserted at Southern Cross hospital in Christchurch.

  3. Eve Doerschel July 4, 2014 at 1:45 am - Reply

    31st Dec 2013 I had a mesh piece put in nearly 2 years after a Triple AAA operation. Have been back in hospital again with pain and discomfort but no one seems to take responsibility or can do anything about the constant discomfort. I would like to get on the list of New Zealanders who want to join the lawsuit, can you tell me how I become involved…I am sick of being in pain and looking at a future that has robbed me of quality of life. Thank you.

  4. Garry Kemp July 30, 2016 at 9:44 pm - Reply


    I am unsure if this site is still active.

    I have had 3 hernia operations using mesh in my groin over the last 6 to 7 seven years the latest was almost 3 years ago, repetitive operations that have failed to remedy the problem, I have constant pain and have difficulty sleeping at night, when will this end.

    Last week I went to my doctor yet again about the pain he has prescribed pain killers, to try and disguise the problem is this really the answer.

    I really just want to know from others experience what is the right procedure what course of action should one take, I am now starting to feel that I am also heading for a wheelchair or worse.

    I would appreciate any comments, thoughts or suggested actions I could consider, should I be looking to have the mesh removed and what are the alternatives, masking the problem with pain killers cannot be the answer!

    • Jane Akre August 1, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

      Hi Garry…. this site is very much active. You are commenting on the New Zealand story …are you in the States? Pain killers means your doc doesnt know what to do with you. Where are you located? Do you have your medical records ? Do you know what kind of mesh you have and how it was placed? That is important…. hernia mesh patient advocate is Bruce Rosenberg 954-701-5094….. he is very busy so keep trying….. There are two Atrium hernia mesh lawsuits underway but that’s all I know about. Please get back….

      • Garry Kemp August 1, 2016 at 9:47 am - Reply

        Hi Jane,
        Thank you for your reply.
        I am a Kiwi currently travelling overseas for 3 months, back in NZ at the end of October. When I get back to NZ I will check my files for further information and advise.

        Best Regards,


        • Jane Akre August 1, 2016 at 9:49 am - Reply

          Are you in the states?…. might be the best time to have your condition assessed. I dont know of docs in New Zealand…

          • Garry Kemp August 1, 2016 at 9:51 am

            Hi Jane,

            No I am in Poland.

            Pretty keen to try to get to the bottom of this as I can feel my well being being challenged with every passing day.

            Best regards,


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