Sling the Mesh: Kath’s campaign gathers support from around the world in its first week

PUBLISHED: 12:01 12 June 2015

Kath Sansom has launched a campaign against a gynaecology operation in which a TVT sling is used. Picture: HELEN DRAKE

Kath Sansom has launched a campaign against a gynaecology operation in which a TVT sling is used. Picture: HELEN DRAKE

Archant

Reporter KATH SANSOM launched Sling the Mesh to raise awareness about a women’s operation that, she says, can leave patients with life-changing disabilities.

Manufacturer: Mesh devices are safe

A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson Ethicon, which released its mesh product on to the UK market in 1997, said this week: “We are always concerned when a patient experiences adverse medical events.

“The use of implantable mesh is backed by years of clinical research. Ethicon’s devices are among the most studied products for this condition.

“Ethicon’s midurethral slings have been the subject of report in hundreds of studies including randomised controlled trials, meta-analyses, systematic reviews and professional organisation analyses.

“Our products have been evaluated by numerous medical societies that have analysed efficacy and complication rates and have determined that the devices are safe and effective.”

If ever a week could be mind-blowing then the last one has hit the mark.

What started as a small idea has grown to a Facebook page with more than 450 members and a hand of friendship and support from women across England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium and America.

All of us are fighting the same cause – to stop an operation that has life-changing consequences for women when it goes wrong. Some of these women have been fighting since 2002.

Much has been achieved already but there is still more to do to make governments worldwide sit up and take notice of the terrible suffering.

Women are in wheelchairs or on crutches, others housebound. Many have leg, pelvic and abdominal pains. Lives have been changed.

Earlier this year US lawyer Adam Slater told the BBC that the mesh problem was “worse than asbestos”.

The Government’s watchdog body, the MHRA, says the operation has a low risk of 1-3 per cent. But campaigners argue many haven’t heard of the MHRA, which is why the figure is so low.

A Parliamentary question showed that in 2010 there were 603 women who had mesh removed. The number officially logged with the MHRA was 15.

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay, who backs Sling The Mesh, is calling for updated figures.

He has already written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and to Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, raising urgent questions on the safety of TVT mesh and whether patients are receiving adequate information about the risks.

He has also asked why the product has been suspended in Scotland and some products de-registered in Australia and whether adequate measures are in place, including sufficient clinicians to deal with problems when they arise.

• Kath launches campaign to stop the operation ruining women’s lives: Click here

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