Stevenage patient’s relief after government suspends surgical mesh op which left her in agony
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
A Stevenage woman who says her life has been ruined by having a surgical mesh implant is happy the procedure has been suspended by the government after a review confirmed “many women are suffering terribly”.
Mesh implants provide additional support when repairing weakened or damaged tissue, but more and more patients have been coming forward suffering complications, and class actions have been brought against manufacturers around the world.
Carole Davies, who lives in Stevenage, had a tension-free vaginal tape operation due to a prolapsed bladder in 2007.
Mesh made of prolene – a synthetic material – was inserted to replace tissue that had weakened and caused the pelvic organs to prolapse.
Carole, 72, says she has been in terrible pain ever since. She cannot stand for long or walk far.
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In February, then-health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a review into the use of vaginal mesh. He said: “Over the years, there have been significant concerns raised by individuals and campaign groups about the potentially harmful effects. The response from those in positions of authority has not always been good enough.”
The review is ongoing, but has called for an immediate suspension of the use of surgical mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence until conditions to mitigate the risks of injury are met, including that surgeons are appropriately trained.
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The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have agreed these conditions should be met by March 2019.
Baroness Cumberlege, who is leading the review, said: “I have been appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories we have heard from women and their families. We have heard from many women who are suffering terribly. We had to act now.
“We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries. We must have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and those are sadly lacking at the moment.
“At this stage in our review we are not recommending a ban.”
Carole, a member of campaign group Sling the Mesh, said: “It’s a great start, but the fight hasn’t finished yet. Mesh shouldn’t be used for anything, including hernias, the vagina or the bowel.
“The suspension is still a triumph though. Obviously it’s too late for me, but it will stop others from suffering. If it just helps one person, then it’s worth it.”