Mesh slings used in hospitals across the region are a bigger health scandal than Thalidomide, says leading politician
- Credit: Archant
Mesh slings to treat incontinence and prolapse in women is a scandal as big as the morning sickness drug, Thalidomide, that gave babies deformed limbs in the 50s and 60s, according to a leading Australian politician.
His outcry has been welcomed by mesh campaigners around the world, including Cambridgeshire Sling The Mesh campaigner, journalist Kath Sansom.
“Earlier this year Scottish Parliament said mesh implants are as bad a cover-up as asbestos and now this. The dangers are finally being recognsied,” said Kath, who launched her campaign 18 months ago and how has nearly 1,000 members in her Facebook support group.
Senate Derryn Hinch said the permanent mesh implant had ruined the lives of thousands of women around the world and was one of the worst medical disgraces of modern times.
Speaking in Parliament today (Tuesday 22) he said mesh had: “crippled thousands of mothers both here and overseas,” and added it was: “one of the greatest medical scandals and abuses of mothers in Australian history.”
In a hard hitting speech that threw punches at the medical industry and watchdog bodies who are supposed to protect patients he said women had been: “Treated like mushrooms – kept in the dark and fed bullsh#t by doctors, hospital administrators, drug companies and even the TGA.
“At times they have almost believed that their pain and their debilitating condition was psychosomatic or just a way to get more pain killers that’s what the doctors suggested,” he said.
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“There are only a few renowned surgeons in the world who can safely remove them.
“These devices are in a woman’s pelvis until she dies.”
His speech came after Australian mesh injured mums Caz Chisolm and and Kim Blieschke travelled from her home in Perth to Melbourne to meet Senate Hinch to beg him to speak out on behalf of women around the world and to call for an enquiry.
“This ‘harmless’ plastic netting can become brittle and start to break away in shards and splinters they start to float around the body causing inflammation and excruciating pain,” said Senate Hinch.
“No wonder these slings have been called a torture device.”
The mesh should be clinically inert, which means before being implanted it must be guaranteed to not change on contact with tissue fluid in the body, it wont produce allergic reactions, wont incite inflammation, wont trigger the immune system, wont harbour and breed bacteria and will stay anchored in the body, he said.
“Tragically, painfully, dangerously, transvaginal mesh does not pass any of those tests. To make the nightmare worse these mesh hammocks are anchored deep into thigh and buttocks and pelvic region muscles where nerves grow through the mesh making it about impossible to remove things when the things go wrong,” he said.
The pain is so excruciating for some that suicide has become a normal thought, he added.
Erosion, nerve and organ damage can happen immediately or can take up to 15 years, he said while nobody is warned of risks and nobody is tested for allergic reactions to polypropylene prior to surgery.
Other side effects include infection bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, vaginal scarring, prolapse returning, sepsis, immune system rejection, urinary problems and chronic pain.
“It’s a national disgrace,” he said.
In the UK the watchdog body, the MHRA says the benefits of mesh slings outweigh the risks and claim the complication rate is around one to three per cent.
Its figures rely on women reporting it via their Yellow Card scheme which many have never heard of.
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