Don’t book a bouncy castle for my birthday party, you’re not a fun mum any more. Six year old sums up the mesh implant disaster.
PUBLISHED: 20:29 29 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:30 31 March 2018
Campaigners are calling for the Government to suspend pelvic mesh implants while a national recall contacts every woman who has had an operation using the plastic devices.
The call comes as women prepare for the next round in their fight to get mesh operations banned with a major debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons on April 19.
Sling The Mesh, whose membership has increased six fold since last year - from 1,000 up to 5,880 members - said the only way to uncover the scale of the disaster is to write to every woman given an incontinence or prolapse repair using mesh tapes, slings or patches in the last 20 years.
Julie Gilsennan, a spokesman for Sling the Mesh, said: “The shattered lives, pain and suffering is wrong on every level. I’ve gone from super fit paramedic to now in the ambulance call centre as I can’t do that job any more.
“My six year old son said to me, mum please don’t book a bouncy castle for my birthday this year because you’re not a fun mum any more.
“That’s the reality of mesh when it goes wrong.”
The campaign, launched by our newspaper in 2015, has received its latest supporter, thanks to Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya, local to our newspaper’s Fen base.
She said: “Given that mesh can shrink, degrade or twist in a woman’s body, can I ask the prime minister if she will support proposals to sling the mesh?”
She will join the next debate in the House of Commons chamber which will be led by MP Emma Hardy.
Owen Smith, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group into mesh implants, will be able to speak, now that he is no longer a front bench member of the Labour Party after Jeremy Corbyn removed him over his calls for another Brexit refeerndum.
Behind the scenes, insurers are closely watching the scandal unfold to determine if it will affect premiums for private patients under going surgery or for companies who insure surgeons.
A Vitality spokesman said: “We are aware of the risk of surgery involving meshes, and we have additional measures in place for vaginal procedures to ensure the surgeon has discussed the risks with the customer prior to implantation.
“We are aware of the media reports about some patients having complications. We are closely monitoring the situation and providing advice to members where needed.”
An Aviva spokesman said: “Surgical mesh has been available for a long time and is well established in the treatment of hernias. Its use in prolapse and incontinence treatment is more recent and recent reviews have shown that there are concerns over both its safety and effectiveness.
“The final determination of the potential liability of the mesh as a product is yet to be determined. As we provide cover for subsequent procedures then yes we do understand that there is a risk for additional cost to help customers with problems.
“We are closely watching the development of legal claims and will consider action in relation to these as matters become clearer.”
An LV spokesman said: “While mesh implants themselves would not impact on premiums for life or critical illness insurance, it’s possible that the underlying medical condition itself and any on-going symptoms could affect whether we are able to offer insurance or the price of the policy.”
A Zurich spokesperson said: “We do not consider mesh implants to be an increased risk for customers applying for our protection products,” however they added: “If a mesh implant has resulted in complications, or caused a disability or inability to work, then we would assess the severity of this, and how it might increase the risk of long-term disability or reduce life expectancy, as we would with any other factors which may affect a customer’s health.”