Around the globe, women are reporting serious side effects from transvaginal mesh complications. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers these medical devices can cause complications such as mesh erosion, pain, infection and bleeding. The health agency even told Americans that these complications “are not rare.”
Yet, health officials in Scotland are under fire recently for allegedly trying to downplay the seriousness of the mesh problem experienced by women in the country. The Daily Record reported the United Kingdom’s National Health Service said just six women have experienced complications from mesh implants, a huge understatement considering the number of lawsuits expected against mesh manufacturers.
“The Scottish Government do[es] not appear to have a clue what is going on,” said Labour’s health spokesman Neil Findlay, according to the Daily Record.”Health officials told us just six women had been reported as suffering adverse effects, therefore mesh was safe to use to treat stress incontinence and pelvic prolapse. But figures from individual health boards across Scotland confirm almost 300 victims are showing such severe complications that surgeons are trying to remove the mesh.”
That number could be even higher, Findlay continued, as two health boards have yet to release figures. He said mesh implants should be banned until health officials have a real picture of the damage these devices have caused in the country.
“The burden the NHS now face legally, as well as trying to treat those with life changing complications, is catastrophic,” he said.
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Government gets it wrong
It’s suspected more than 8,000 women in Scotland have received a surgical mesh implant since 2007, yet government figures are as low as 2,915, the Daily Record reported. Many of these women suffered side effects from the devices including pain, organ perforation and nerve damage, which forced them to have additional surgery to try to correct the damage the mesh caused.
Women filing lawsuits against mesh manufacturers say the companies failed to properly inform patients of the risks associated with the devices and were deficient in fixing the medical problem they were intended to, the source said.
“Despite being alerted to the crisis nine months ago, [Health Secretary] Alex Neil has done nothing more than pay victims lip service while the numbers and seriousness of the situation have been obscured,” said Findlay. “As it is quite clear the government have no idea how many women are affected, they must issue a suspension notice on use of transvaginal mesh products until a public inquiry can establish the facts.”
Complications are life-changing
The Daily Record detailed the story of a woman who received a mesh implant when she was 29. Now 31, Leslie McGlinchey is confined to a wheelchair. The mesh caused her pain and nerve damaged, but doctors were unable to fully remove all the mesh. She said she cannot stand for more than a couple minutes before losing her balance and mobility.
“I’m broken and in constant pain,” McGlinchey told the source. “The doctors have told me all they can do now is try to manage my pain, which means I’ve got to spend the rest of my life taking the most powerful drugs my body can handle.”
Cameron Fyfe, a lawyer representing the hundreds of women suing mesh manufacturers, said women who have experienced pain and agony like McGlinchey deserve justice.
“There’s now so much evidence to show the devastating toll mesh has taken on thousands of women across the world, every woman who has undergone this procedure can potentially take legal action against manufacturers and the NHS,” Fyfe said.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.