For years, media outlets, medical practitioners, and legal professionals have publicized, studied, treated, and represented women who endured health issues after receiving pelvic/transvaginal mesh implants.
However, patients who suffered injuries from their surgical mesh implanted to treat hernias have not received the same level of support. This is what many patients are claiming, according to a report on the topic conducted by Sydney, Australia’s 9News. Journalist Emily McPherson interviewed several hernia mesh recipients in the area and reported on the outcomes they have suffered from their implants, as well as their frustration with a legal community they feel has swept them under the rug.
The Story of Ray Gray
One such patient, Ray Gray, was 22 years old when he received a hernia mesh implant following a warehouse injury in 1985. The medical device was presented to him as a revolutionary new medical technique that would repair the hole in his groin.
Gray underwent the procedure to implant the hernia mesh. He then endured seven hernia mesh repair surgeries over the course of the next 17 years, as the hernia continued to re-open. Furthermore, every single piece of mesh that surgeons implanted in these series of failed procedures still exists inside of Gray’s body. Since day one, following his first hernia mesh implant surgery, Gray says he has suffered in pain. He describes the pain as a “burning” sensation.
Seventeen years later, Gray still has a hernia. He has survived on disability support, spending his days in unrelenting pain. From the moment he wakes up, he is struck with the feeling of a sandpaper-like material scraping on his bowel. He feels certain what he is feeling is some of the surgical mesh that remains inside him.
Australian Senate Inquiry Ignored Hernia Mesh
In 2018, the Australian Senate launched an inquiry into the pelvic mesh implants used to reinforce weakened vaginal walls for women suffering from complications of childbirth, such as urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. After citing pelvic mesh as “one of the biggest medical scandals” involving Australian women, the Senate acted on its findings by establishing a clinic dedicated to pelvic mesh, as well as a system that required reporting of adverse events related to the medical device.
Hernia mesh patients who were also suffering the side effects of these devices were left out in the cold. The Australian Senate did not investigate these patients’ medical problems. Furthermore, these patients have been excluded in a massive class action against Johnson & Johnson, maker of surgical mesh.
U.S. Hernia Mesh Lawsuits in the Tens of Thousands
In the United States, patients who suffered pain and injury from the hernia mesh implants enjoy a markedly different experience than their Australian counterparts. According to 9News, surgical mesh manufacturers have settled in excess of 50,000 hernia mesh lawsuits in the U.S.—ringing up to settlement amounts totaling over one billion dollars.
Options for U.S. Hernia Mesh Recipients
If you or a loved one received a hernia mesh implant, be aware of the signs and symptoms of a failed hernia mesh: pain and discomfort, bruising or swelling, bleeding and infection, erectile dysfunction, and of course, hernia recurrence.
Be sure to report your hernia mesh complications to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program, so they can keep track of the problems with these devices and take appropriate actions.