BBC drama Casualty storyline to feature pelvic mesh implant scandal

Campaigner Kath Sansom has been working with Casualty scriptwriters

Women's health campaigner Kath Sansom (right) has been working with Casualty scriptwriters on a storyline highlighting the issue starting in Saturday's episode (April 17). - Credit: BBC / Archant

A Cambridgeshire mum who campaigns to raise awareness of complications from surgical mesh implants has been working with BBC scriptwriters on a Casualty storyline highlighting the issue.

Kath Sansom, a former journalist on this newspaper, campaigns to raise awareness of the risks of these implants to treat conditions such as stress incontinence and prolapse in women as well as in hernia and rectopexy operations.

Mesh implants are also used in reconstruction after some mastectomy surgeries.

Her efforts led to an independent government review which exposed the shocking extent of patient failings and lack of regulation for these medical devices.

Campaigner Kath Sansom

Kath Sansom, from March, has been campaigning since 2015 to raise awareness of complications women have been suffering from pelvic mesh implants. - Credit: Supplied

Now, writers from the popular Saturday night BBC drama will portray what hundreds of women have gone through when they experienced issues with their mesh implants.

Kath, from March, said: “Mesh is the biggest women's health disaster of our generation and I'm so pleased this scandal is being featured in this series of Casualty.


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“Women who have gone through this pain will relate to the storyline. The impact of mesh-related complications can be life-changing, and without a doubt this procedure has ruined many lives.”

There will be a storyline in Casualty about mesh implants

The Casualty storyline featuring a patient suffering complications from a mesh implants will begin on Saturday (April 17). - Credit: BBC

The mesh storyline will be introduced this Saturday (April 17), and will continue across a number of episodes in the series.  

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It follows the complications suffered by Bibi, whose son Marty is one of the staff members at the emergency department.

She’s rushed into hospital after collapsing.

Initially, she’s treated for possible sepsis but confides in her doctor that the vaginal mesh she had inserted at a private clinic for stress incontinence has been causing her issues ever since.

A TVT mesh sling

A TVT mesh sling which can be inserted into women to treat stress incontinence and prolapse. Picture: Kath Sansom - Credit: Archant

Too embarrassed to discuss the problem with her family, they had no idea she had actually undergone the procedure in the first place.

The storyline will expose key elements of the scandal, such as how some private clinics were still allegedly inserting mesh after it had been suspended and how women were never fully informed of the risks.  It will also show how mesh is made of plastic.

Later, the true extent of the damage is revealed as well as its impact on her wider family.

Characters involved in the Casualty storyline

Casualty on BBC One is one of the most watched Saturday night programmes. - Credit: BBC

Kath launched the ‘Sling the Mesh’ campaign group on Facebook whilst working at this newspaper in 2015.

Since then, it has grown to 8,800 members, mainly women, from around the world.

They share experiences of their complications which include chronic pain, difficulties walking or sitting, allergic reactions and auto immune conditions.

“The Casualty storyline is yet another way we can warn others about vaginal mesh implants,” Kath added.


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