Tag Archives: Surgical Wound Infection

Partial Pelvic Mesh Removal — Wrong Solution to Permanent Problem

Your surgeon says he or she can snip the part of the mesh sling they can see, a quick operation and you’ll be better. Or says he can cut it to release it because it was put in too tight. Or, he promises a full removal but the operation takes less than an hour and, if the parts go to pathology, most of the mesh is still not accounted for.

Women who knowingly or unknowingly have partial removal surgery come to regret it. They issue strong warnings for the lucky women who read or search for answers online before signing up for a partial removal. Thousands of Urogynecologists and Urologists do partial removals. The very people who profit from mesh tell those specialists how to handle complaints: just cut a little out. Some heartless doctors cut it right there in the office with no anesthesia whatsoever.

The woman who have been through this tell newcomers not to allow a surgeon to cut bits and pieces of mesh but to leave it whole for a qualified surgeon with the skills to necessary to remove the entire device in one operation. They warn that doctors are not telling the truth about those partial surgeries.

Frayed rope is like sliced mesh

Partial removal can be a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Nearly everyone gets temporary relief after a partial surgery. When a rope breaks, the ends fray. That’s what happens with partials. All the ends leak toxic chemicals, stirring up a immune storm inside your body and spring back, eventually attaching to other parts of your vagina, bladder, intestines, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. After a year or two, you develop new symptoms and go looking for a doctor who can help. More than 99% of board certified surgeons will do another partial. Some women have dozens of surgeries before finding help from advocacy groups.

Be very careful. Get the whole thing out in any way you can because you are in the best possible shape to have a good outcome when your surgeon goes after the whole thing and it’s still intact! When mesh is cut, the next surgeon must go searching for shreds of it. They compare that surgery to trying to get bubble gum out of hair or searching for shrapnel.

POLY IS FOR CUTTERS

If your surgery took less than four hours, consider that it may not be a complete removal, get your medical and surgical records and your pathology report. Learn the dimensions of your implant and ask for an accounting for every piece of it. Before your explant surgery, demand a micro and macro pathology be done. Afterward, get those reports!

We’ve found only five surgeons in the U.S. who consistently prove they removed complete pelvic mesh including arms or anchors (fixation devices):

  • Shlomo Raz, UCLA
  • Dionysis Veronikis, St. Louis, MO
  • Una Lee, Seattle WA
  • Dmitriy Nikolavsky, Syracuse, NY
  • Michael Hibner, Phoenix, AZ

The surgery is very risky but research has shown that is in no more risky that partial removals.

Beware of sugeons loan companies Beware of Mesh News
If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.
PelvicMeshOwnersGuide.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.





Why Not Talk About Hernia Mesh?

I often hear that people think that there is too much attention paid to pelvic mesh victims at the cost to the hernia victims. After all, it’s the same material that is used, just cut in a different shape and placed in a different part of the body. And, truth is, pelvic organ prolapse is very similar to a hernia —both are caused by a weakening of muscles.

When I planned this blog, I decided to focus on one type of mesh because it is the one I know best and because I planned to go into depth with my research. In the back of my mind, I want to do another blog called the Hernia Mesh Owner’s Guide —some day.

POLY IS FOR CUTTERS

I hope hernia sufferers will look at the parts of this blog that apply to them because so many complications are the same: the denial by doctors, the nerve injuries, the salesmen in the operating room, the body’s foreign body reaction and the resulting autoimmune diseases, the cancer risk, the pain, loss of consortium, and the loss of ability to work. The great difficulties getting it removed are similar. Mesh shreds, twists, curls, folds, stretches, migrates, disintegrates, etc. no matter where it is placed.

In looking at why the two entities got separated in the first place, it is important to look at the history of several legal battles. Hernia mesh underwent similar legal attacks about 20 years ago. Many versions of hernia were removed, recalled, and quietly taken off the market. Many people sued and won and many lost. In the end, really, the makers won. They just changed a few elements of hernia mesh, paid for scientific studies that proved it was a great product, and went right on marketing it (the same thing is happening with transvaginal mesh).

So, when the makers found a new application for mesh, putting it into women’s most private, most valued and most delicate place, it cause NEW problems because of the anatomy of the pelvis. The lawyers, like chairs on a tipping ship, rushed to represent this new disaster and abandoned the hernia meshes because there is no longer any money in those cases.

Hernia mesh victims: please be aware that not a single victim made this separation; it was done by lawyers.

Sadly, there are probably no lawyers who represent hernia mesh victims unless it involves malpractice and even that is very hard to prove. BigPharma and the AMA put legislation in place long ago to limit the amount you can win. (Tort reform only benefits those entities). BigPharma also controls much of major media. Thank goodness for social media!

 

Peggy Day is working on a book to combine all these stories. She welcomes any input you may have.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to PelvicMeshOwnersGuide.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.




22+ Crucial Questions to Ask Surgeon Before Mesh Surgery

 1. What is the operation being recommended? Is it necessary?

 2. Why is the operation necessary?

 3. I am aware that a bladder sling or hernia mesh is made of polypropylene and the material is the same, whether it is called a “tape” or “minitape.” I do not want polypropylene in my body. Are you willing to do the surgery without the use of synthetic surgical mesh? {__ I am allergic to polypropylene (check if applies to you).}

4. What are my alternatives to this procedure? (for example: I am aware the Burch Procedure has the same rate of success as synthetic surgical mesh. Are you able to do an alternative procedure)

 5. What are the benefits of the surgery and how long will those benefits last?

 6. What are the risks and possible complications of having the operation?

 7. What are my possibilities if I choose not to have the surgery?

 8. How many of these surgeries have you performed?

9. For which specialty do you have a board certification?  Urology, Urogynecology, Gynecology, General Surgery, Colorectal Surgery?  Other?

10. Where will my surgery be performed?

11. How long will my operation take?

12. Why type of anesthesia will be administered? If it is not a hospital, is there emergency equipment if I should have trouble with anesthesia? What is the plan for emergencies? 

13. What type of incision will be used? Will it be an open procedure, minimally invasive or laparoscopic?

14. Do you have to cut close to larger nerves to complete this operation?

15. What are my chances for getting new nerve damage?

16. What is the risk of mesh erosion into healthy organs from this surgery?

17. What are my chances for getting a wound infection? What is the hospital’s nosocomial infection rate? Do you provide antibiotic prophylaxis?

18. What are the specific risks of this procedure?

19. What will my operation cost? What else will I be charged for?

20. What can I expect during recovery?

21. How will my life be changed for the good or bad after this operation?

22. How many future surgeries might I expect after this surgery if there are complications?

Added question: Are you planning to have a salesmen in the operating room with you? I do__ do not___ prefer to have a sales representative in the OR with me.

(Click here for download of copy with fill-in-the-blanks.)


 

 POLY IS FOR ADA RAMPS


 

Places to check-up on your surgeon

It is important to have confidence in the doctor who will be doing your surgery and you can make sure that he or she is qualified. Each state licenses its physicians. Take the time to search for:

       “[Name of State] physician license verification” for your own surgeon.

Make sure to check for disciplinary actions taken or whether the license is current. Example here.

  • Ask your primary doctor, your local medical society, or health insurance company for information about the doctor or surgeon’s experience with the procedure.
  • Make certain the doctor or surgeon is affiliated with an accredited health care facility. When considering surgery, where it is done is often as important as who is doing the procedure.

From PelvicMeshOwnersGuide.com                        © Peggy Day November 27, 2015





25 Crucial Questions to Ask Your Mesh Removal Surgeon

1. What is the operation being recommended? Is it necessary?

2. Why is the operation necessary?

3. What are my alternatives to this procedure?

4. What are the benefits of the surgery and how long will the benefits last?

5. What are the risks and possible complications of having the operation?

6. What are my possibilities if I choose not to have the surgery?

7. How many of these surgeries have you performed?

8. For which specialty do you have a board certification?  Urology  Urogynecology  Gynecology √ General Surgery  Colorectal Surgery?  None Other 

9. Where will surgery be performed?

10. How long will my operation take?

11. Why type of anesthesia will be administered? If it is not a hospital, is there emergency equipment if I should have trouble with anesthesia? What is the plan for emergencies? 

12. What type of incision will be used? Will it be an open procedure, minimally invasive or laparoscopic?

13. If mesh is embedded in my bladder or urethra, do you have the skills to take it out?

14. If mesh is embedded into my obturator spaces, do you have the skills to take it out?

15. If mesh has eroded into my colon or rectum, do you have the skills to take it out?

16. If I have more than one mesh, do you have the skills to find it and take it out?

17. If mesh is close to a blood vessel, do you have the skills to remove it?

18. If mesh is close to a large nerve, do you have the skills to remove it with the least amount of damage?

 19. What are my chances for getting new nerve damage?

 20. What are my chances for getting a wound infection? What is the hospital’s nosocomial infection rate? Do you provide prophylaxis to address biofilm-related infections?

21. What are the specific risks of this procedure?

22. What will my operation cost? What else will I be charged for?

23. What can I expect during recovery?

24. What are the ways will my life be different after this surgical procedure?

25. How many future surgeries should I expect?

(Click HERE for Printable Version with Fill in the Blanks.)


Mesh is not for bodies in motion

Places to check-up on your surgeon

It is important to have confidence in the doctor who will be doing your surgery and you can make sure that he or she is qualified. Each state licenses its physicians. Take the time to search for:

       “[Name of State] physician license verification” for your own surgeon. Example here.

Make sure to check for disciplinary actions taken or whether the license is current.

  • Ask your primary doctor, your local medical society, or health insurance company for information about the doctor or surgeon’s experience with the procedure.
  • Make certain the doctor or surgeon is affiliated with an accredited health care facility. When considering surgery, where it is done is often as important as who is doing the procedure.

 


 

  • If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here. Subscribe to PelvicMeshOwnersGuide.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.


26 Pelvic Mesh Complications Your Doc Never Mentioned

Welcome to the Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide! This page is like a Table of Contents.

Over 4.2 million women have the implants and a quarter to a third of them suffer debilitating complications while doctors say, “It’s not the mesh.” The FDA warned in both 2008 and 2011 that complications are serious. Too many women are finding out they were right all along, it is the mesh. 

If you’re having trouble with mesh, here is a list of 26 complications in the Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Sign up for updates to learn more and take the first step on your healing journey.

POLY IS FOR CABLES copy

26 Mesh Complications Your Doctor Never Warned You About:

1) Intractable Pain (pain that doesn’t go away) – Some people wake up from implant surgery knowing something is wrong. It is too tight or the pain is beyond measuring. Part 1 talks about the post operative pain from pelvic mesh & Part 2 is one woman’s journey with pelvic mesh pain.

2) Excessive BleedingBleeding happens but when is it too much? When to call the doctor? How to regain strength after heavy bleeding

3) Urinary tract infection, Kidney infection – Urinary tract infections are serious health-risks and can involve the bladder and kidney. When mesh is stuck in the bladder it continually irritates the bladder until it is removed surgically. Learn how to prevent UTIs and test yourself at home and to distinguish a bladder infection from a kidney infection.

     4) Wound infectionsA bladder sling can act like a petri dish harboring and incubating strong, sometimes drug-resistant bacteria. Left undiagnosed, they can lead to a delay in wound healing, even open up wide and deep surgical wounds and putting your life at risk.

5) Bladder injuryA slip of the knife, a puncture from an ice-pick like trocar, sling pulled so tight that it cuts the bladder. A bladder injury is one of the most difficult to repair. One study says it happens 10% of the time, another say 75%!

6) Bowel InjuryWhen a part of the bowel is nicked, fecal matter seeps into the interior of the body, when it the diagnosis is delayed or completely missed, patients become extremely ill.

7) Fistula (a hole between two organs) – Imagine your urine draining out of your vagina or your stool coming out. Fistula is all to common and deeply embarrassing for women.

8) Wound Opening Up After Stitches(also called dehiscence) – You think your surgery is healing and you are trying to get back on your feet and back to normal. Then your wound starts to open up. Dehiscence delays healing for a very long time.

9) Erosion – (also called exposure, extrusion or protrusion) As many as one patient in three experiences erosion from mesh. Would you agree to mesh if you were told the odds that you wouldn’t enjoy sex ever again were one in three?

10) Incontinence “I sneeze, I pee.”The odds that mesh surgery won’t cure your incontinence is the same as other surgical repairs: one in three.

11) Urinary Retention “I can’t pee right.”A mesh that is implanted too tight can slow down or stop your urine stream for about four percent of patients. Why does your surgeons “handedness” (right- or left-handed) affect your outcome?

12) Dyspareunia – pain during sexual intercourse One study found 26% of women found sex too painful after mesh surgery.

13) Multiple surgeriesWhen things go wrong, often the solution is another surgery and another. Some women have had over a dozen surgeries to correct mesh complications. More surgery = more scarring.

14) Vaginal scarring/shrinkage – Vaginal scarring: one of the most emotionally and physically difficult problems to heal.

15) Emotional DamageNaturally, an injury to a woman’s re-creative center causes emotional pain but can we allow doctors to blame the women?

16) Neuro-muscular problems – nerve damageStinging, burning, pins-and-needles, numbness all are signs of nerve damage. Even the way your body was positioned during surgery can cause nerve damage.

17) Obturator Nerve – Symptoms in your mid-thighs (saddle region).

18) Ilioinguinal/iliohypogastric Nerve – Symptoms in your pubic region.

19) Genitofemoral Nerve – Symptoms in your inner groin.

20) Femoral Nerve – Symptoms in your outer thighs

21) Pudendal Nerve Entrapment – Symptoms in your “sit spot.”

22) Fibular Neuropathy – Symptoms on the outside lower legs

23) Saphenous Nerve – Symptoms on your inner lower legs

24) Piriformis Syndrome – Symptoms across your buttocks.

25) Sciatica – Symptoms all the way down your leg.

26) Peripheral Neuropathy – Symptoms from the bottom of your feet and up your legs, even your hands can be involved.

MESH IS NOT FOR BODIES 2


If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to PelvicMeshOwnersGuide.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.

Did a Salesman Oogle Your Pelvic Mesh Surgery? – Salesmen in the OR

You may be surprised to learn just how your doctor purchased the pelvic sling he put in your body. Truth is, he didn’t have to lift a finger. His sales rep brought it to him. Moreover, there is a good chance your salesman watched your doctor put it in you and, he may even have “scrubbed in” and performed part of your surgery.

It is no accident that your surgeon “forgot” to mention the manufacturer’s rep might be in your surgery. Manufacturers are well aware that the practice is very controversial and don’t want you to know. David S. Hilzenrath discovered the obfuscation while preparing for his 2009 Washington Post story about salesmen boosting sales by participating in operations:

“(S)ome companies want nothing to do with a story about sales rep in the operating room.
“‘I would hope that you would not mention Boston Scientific in your story,’ a spokesman for that company e-mailed.
“Major device makers such as Johnson & Johnson, Stryker and Zimmer declined to arrange interviews for this article.”

POLY IS FOR ELECTRIC WIRES

Mesh injured women began realizing that manufacturers invaded their surgeries, not when they were asked to sign a consent for an observer to be there while their genitals were being operated on, but afterward when they found evidence by reading their own charts. Detail men around the world routinely attend surgeries to make sure doctors don’t use competitors’ products.

In 2008, Ronda Yancy (not her real name) was appalled when she retrieved her own medical record: “I found out, after my surgery, that a Johnson & Johnson Gynecare sales representative was in the O.R. with me.”

Yancy, who died at 52, after living her final years dealing with mesh complications and a string of illnesses, had been implanted the Gynecare Prolift (a polypropylene-based surgical mesh device used to treat pelvic organ prolapse). The Prolift was first introduced by J&J in 2005 without an F.D.A. approval and was soon the source of alarming federal complaints. It wasn’t removed from the market until a year after Ronda’s death, in 2012.

Ronda’s pelvic sling sawed itself out of the space it was supposed to be and into her vagina, causing her suffer years of infections and disabling pelvic pains. “I sure never thought that some day I’d be crying just cause I can’t stand to wear underwear anymore, much less pick up my grandkids,” said Ronda. “After the surgery I couldn’t walk properly and am in constant cutting pain. Doctors say I am the first patient to ever have problems.”

After Ronda posted in an online support group, others began to look at their operative reports and at least three found that salesmen had been in the room with them while they slept. One said she felt like she’d been “drugged and raped.”

One nurse wrote to the group, “The hospital loves for the reps to come in because their labor is free and they provide free products to use. The reps bring in pizza dinners and cater lunches from time to time and so the O.R. staff loves them too.

Trendelenberg

Jack-knife position for vaginal surgery. (Posed by clothed woman)

Bill Mackay, a high school drop-out and device salesman who performed the major part of a surgery that crippled a man in 1975, was never mentioned in that patient’s chart. He later wrote in a tell-all book, Salesman Surgeon, that he took over lead surgeon, David Lipton’s position during a hip replacement, ordered the nurse to hand him sharp instruments, hammered and chiseled away at bones and removed one hip prosthesis and implanted another. He said it was the “one of nicest pieces of surgery (he’d) ever seen or done”  but the patient, Franklin Mirando didn’t agree. The forty-two-year-old service station owner never walked again after Mackay was done with him.

In 1977, criminal charges for assault and misrepresenting business records were made against salesman Mackay, two surgeons, a nurse and the Smithtown General Hospital. Investigations were launched by both state legislators and the Sulfolk County Medical Society. Despite all the hoopla, the charges were eventually dropped and the manufacturers across the country began to have free rein inside operating rooms.

What could possibly go wrong when you send wet-eared salesmen into an operating room? In 1998, another device rep was sued after he operated a machine during a fibroid removal surgery and 30-year-old Lisa Smart died within hours. Lawyers found Lisa’s surgeons had botched many aspects of her surgery including overloading her with fluid. She drowned. Her husband’s lawyers were also shocked to discover Johnson & Johnson sales rep, David Myers, was operating the dials on the unauthorized machine that delivered electrical impulses to her uterus. “The patient was never given the chance to consent to the use of the equipment or the presence of the salesman,” the New York Times reported at the time. The hospital a was fined $30,000 and Myers disappeared from sight. Yet again, in the face of another disastrous outcome, device marketers stepped up their pace.

Classes for prospective salesmen include topics like: “how to get inside a surgical suite without an invitation” or how “to sell without making the surgeon feel that he’s being sold” or even “the art of engaging surgeons in conversation.”  Candidates are invariably young, good-looking go-getters whose training lasted no longer than a few weeks. Although a college education is recommended, it is not always required. Despite the fact that pelvic mesh sellers are given an unfettered view of your genitals, there is no evidence that they were ever required to go through a background check–although your nurse sure was.

bathing-machine-with-men-ogling-women

Recently, two pelvic mesh recipients found out that salesmen had been with them by reading their charts. One woman noticed a set of unfamiliar initials next to “Ass.,” or assistant surgeon, on her operative report and set out to investigate. She found another document with the full name spelled out and remembered her surgeon mentioning he was going to “ask the advice” of his salesman with the same name. She was never told he would be there. A modest woman, she can’t digest the fact that a total stranger was afforded a clear view of her most private area. As if to compound the emotional harm from realizing a salesman had seen her tilted backward, legs spread on an operating table, she said the same sales rep later visited her in her home–right after she made an official complaint about her mesh injuries.

It the manufacturers are working hard to hide the presence of salesmen in operating rooms, there is no way to know if, when your transobturator-tape was pulled to tight, it was really the detail man who tugged too hard on that trocar or if his scrubbing technique was not up to standard and that’s why you had a post-operative infection.

If you would like to look up your medical record, be prepared to put a little wear and tear on your shoe leather. Go to your hospital medical record department in person and ask for the complete report of your surgery, including the label for you implant. Most medical record departments provide only the surgeon’s dictated report, especially when you ask by mail, but there is a lot more paperwork than that. Look for your consent, your anesthesiologist’s minute-to-minute accounting, your nurse’s count of sponges and instruments, and your interoperative report, which should contain the names of everyone who attended your surgery.

Yancy felt she was invalidated every step of the way after her implant. Doctor after doctor told her, “Mesh is the gold standard, it can’t be the mesh.” She summed it up in one word saying she had been “Gaslighted,” a reference to the 1944 movie, Gaslight, in which Charles Boyer pulled dirty tricks on Ingrid Bergman and then told her she must be going crazy–all the while pretending he had her best interest at heart. What a perfect phrase. Are you being Gaslighted?


Peggy Day is working on an investigative report on pelvic mesh salesmen in the operating room. She welcomes any input you may have about the questionable practice.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to MeshTroubles.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.

Handling a Trip To The Emergency Room With Mesh Trouble

Once upon a time, a more experienced emergency room nurse told me that doctors are bad with headache and backache patients because they can’t see the pain like they can see a broken arm or a heart attack. It is infinitely more rewarding for an ER doctor to put a cast on an arm or order the best medication to stop a heart attack in its tracks than to give a shot to a pain sufferer who will softly murmur a thank you, wrap herself in her blanket, and walk out the door with her head down and her husband carrying her discharge papers and her purse.

Just remember—when you are about fantasizing recreating Shirley MacLaine’s hospital scene, and screaming “GIVE HER THE SHOT!” at the nurse, your nurse is probably fantasizing about reenacting Jerry Maguire’s quitting scene.

POLY IS FOR EMERGENCY EXITS

Here are my thoughts to help you have a successful ER visit.

 

 

In a successful ER visit:
◆    You are treated in a timely manner with respect to circumstances
◆    You are treated with respect
⁃    Your privacy is respected
⁃    You are kept comfortable
⁃    All team members speak to with you as an equal participant in your care

◆    Staff:
⁃    Addresses your problem
⁃    Offers a correct and thorough diagnosis
⁃    Gives you appropriate treatment
⁃    Gives you enough treatment to get you through to your next doctor visit

Now, here are a few suggestions to help you get the best out of your ER visit:
◆    Expect to wait
⁃    The ER uses a system of priorities that is very similar to Mazlow’s Hierarchy with your ability to get air at the bottom platform of the pyramid. Next come your heart beat and circulation, and on and on…
◆    Make yourself personable

⁃    Be honest & don’t exaggerate. Triage nurses have seen a lot of people in pain and a lot of injuries and illnesses and have a natural instinct for dramatic behavior. If they cannot see your pain or injury, help them understand it. Try describing it with commonly understood details.
⁃    Ask for the help that you need. Explain why you are there and what you expect as an outcome of your visit. For example, say, “I have a plan to see my doctor in five days but I need pain medication to get me through until then.”
⁃    If you feel you are being demeaned or talked down to, turn it around without sarcasm and ask the doctor what he recommends you could do or what he might do in the same situation. If you are out and out mistreated, ask for another physician (or nurse).
⁃    If you have an expectation when you arrive that you will be mistreated, check it at the door. Don’t start by saying, “I have pelvic mesh and I am part of a lawsuit.” Those are toxic words to a team that is practicing defensive medicine— which is what all ER’s do.
maslows-hierarchy-of-needs

I found another blogger,  unnamed, who addressed the topic, “ER visits” for chronic pain sufferers. I’ve abbreviated a few of her suggestions:
◆    The emergency room is the last resort after trying every solution at home and calling your doctor or patient care team or going to an Urgent Care center.
◆    Make sure you have a regular physician or primary care doctor who manages your care.
⁃    Look at local and even national support groups for your condition(s). They will have lists of hospitals and even specific doctors in your area who have been a good match for others in your situation. If those doctors are not taking patients, ask their staff whom they would recommend.
◆    Be ready to show them that you tried to contact your regular doctor before going to the ER
⁃    The ER is more sympathetic to the patient who has been told to go the ER by his doctor or his team.
⁃    It makes it clear you are only using the ER as a last resort.
⁃    Bring a letter from your doctor or your most recent discharge papers from your doctor. Also, bring a copy of your pain plan if you have a pain management doctor.
◆    Bring a list of medications rather than rely on your own memory.
◆    Work cooperatively with the ER staff and don’t call negative attention to yourself. You may be in agonizing pain but the staff is first deciding whether you are exhibiting “drug seeking behavior,” so don’t give them any opportunity to decide wrong.
◆    If you have a rare condition or one that is frequently misunderstood or is thought not to cause pain, bring information about your condition. (I can’t tell you how many times people did that when I worked in the ER. We were grateful not to have to look it up.)
◆    Bring someone with you. This will help because it is hard to explain things when you are sick or in pain and they can help. They also can remember details for you.
◆    If possible, use the same ER as much as possible because doctors become suspicious when they discover visits to multiple hospitals (Hint: They call each other to say so!)
◆    Keep a folder handy with all your details written down so you don’t have to try to put it together in the midst of horrific pain.

Finally, if you feel you’ve been mistreated after your ER visit, please do at least three of these things:
◆    Write your story down.
◆    Contact the Medical Director of the ER during business hours.
◆    Contact the Medical Director of the hospital during business hours.
◆    Contact the Board of Medical Examiners or licensing bureau for your state.
◆    Send your description of your visit, by snail mail letter to each of the people above and include a letter to the offending doctor as well. Who knows? He may see the light.
◆    One final note, after you are treated well, drop a short note to the ER and you can be sure it will be given to your doctor!!

Have you been treated well or badly by an ER? What’s your take?

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 4.30.12 PM

Published under Fair Use Act as Educational


 

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to MeshTroubles.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.

 

Signing Up For Just One Surgery With Pelvic Mesh?

Imagine this: Two women had tree branches fall across their homes causing major damage. Both trees did the most damage to the kitchen. Cindy Lu hires the guys who promises to get the job done the fastest for the least money. Her contractor comes in one day, and chops out the middle of the branch and cleans up the mess on her kitchen floor and replaces her kitchen faucet so it will run. He gets the job done in less than a day. Karen hires a more experienced contractor who takes out the entire branch and repairs all her plumbing, appliances and replaces her furniture and cleans up every tiny piece of bark or wood chip. It takes several days. He comes back later on and fixes the broken walls, windows and doors and returns her home to as close to pre-storm conditions as possible.

Which contractor would you hire?

This is an analogy to what happens when pelvic mesh goes bad. The surgeon who chips away at pelvic mesh, one eroded bit at a time, sets up a patient for multiple surgeries— today’s mesh trouble. Recently, Linda Gross won over 11 million dollars at trial after 18 surgeries to repair erosion, scarring, and tissue damage from a Gynecare Prolift pelvic sling. Surgeries performed after the pelvic mesh implant correct erosion, new or continued incontinence, difficulty urinating, infections, scar tissue, pain, deheisance, or fistulae. Women experiencing generalized symptoms they attribute to mesh opt for removals as well and report an improvement in their symptoms.

MESH IS FOR LAUNDRY

Synthetic surgical pelvic mesh was first thought to be faster, easier and better than traditional repairs like culpopexy and porcine and native tissue sling repairs. Newer research says it  just wasn’t true.  In a 2013 review, authors concluded that, even though sacral colpopexy had a longer operation time: “the sacral colpopexy had a higher success rate on examination and lower reoperation rate than high vaginal uterosacral suspension and transvaginal polypropylene mesh.”

Mesh removal is risky business due its faulty design. Absent-minded scientists have been accused of not stepping back and looking at the “big picture” ever since Thales, the Greek mathematician, looked up at the stars so often that he fell down a well. Designers of pelvic mesh imagined they found the best thing since the flat turret lathe or bifocal eyeglasses. It was so perfect, they must have thought, nobody would ever want to remove it.

It is an interesting observation that more doctors are prone to diagnose only what they can see—on your body, an x-ray, in a lab report then by the patient’s description of her problems. Headaches, backaches and now pelvic pain are the least recognized and treated medical complaints today. Until the “BLUE sh*t” (as Johnson & Johnson execs called Gynecare mesh in a secret email) could actually be seen by the doctors, women’s complaints were ignored. If they got an answer from their doctors, they were advised to have it snipped, dissected, ligated, trimmed or revised. When the mesh kept sneaking back, surgeons removed more little bits.

It takes a highly skilled surgeon like Dr. Shlomo Raz at UCLA to remove all of the mesh, including the anchors (secured ends).  The few surgeons who do remove the mesh in its entirety complain that removing all of shards of mesh from healthy human flesh is like getting bubblegum out of hair.

Dr. Dionysios Veronikis of St. Louis, MO invented a surgical instrument that  dissects the mesh away from the healthy tissue without cutting surrounding structures. He finds one end of the mesh and then carefully cuts, moving his instrument forward until it frees up the entire sling in one piece. It is hours and hours of painstaking work and healing from the procedure takes a long time.

Once mesh is removed, more surgeries are often needed to revise the damage left behind and fix structural problems. Complications, like bleeding, infection, and nerve damage, from mesh removal surgery are common. After finally going through removal surgery, 87% said they would never have had the artificial mesh implant in the first place, if they had only known. If you’ve not yet had an implant, you are one of the lucky ones because, now that there is more research and information is available on the net–mesh does not appear to be easier or better. Many, if not most, doctors are reverting to traditional fixes. You can save yourself a boatload of trouble by finding a surgeon who can repair your problem without mesh.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to MeshTroubles.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.

6 Personal Stories: Mesh Patients Are Not Mental Patients

Normal reactions to real parts of life are now being shifted into medical diagnoses by a medical and a psychiatric establishment that is fully embedded with Big Pharma. (Big Pharma is a nickname for the world’s vast and influential pharmaceutical industry and its trade and lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America or PhRMA. These powerful companies make billions of dollars a year by selling drugs and medical devices, including the ones that cause pelvic mesh trouble.  As drug makers learned how to profit from turning normal grief into a major depression, normal pain response into anxiety or bipolar illness, and normal outrage over disrespectful, dismissive and faulty treatment by surgeons into a psychiatric disorder, more and more mesh victims are being given experimental (untested and unproven) drugs without any real proof that they work.   They don’t work. Before SSRI’s were introduced, 355,000 Americans were disabled by mental illness and after those pills went on the market, then number skyrocketed to 1.25 million!

Women who have been put through the surgical mesh mill and then treated like second-class citizens have honest to goodness, normal emotional responses. They resist being treated like emotional cripples and yet they are being sent to psychiatrists for a reacting to a very real circumstances. The six stories below are a sampling of  thousands of stories from across the world today. Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Evelyn: “I do not have pain—just complete humiliation at having the fistula and the obvious attention I have to give it. I am a neat freak and this is most unpleasant for me! I keep telling myself that I am not going to die from this and just to carry on. I am definitely an action person, so the best way to deal with all of this for me is to have a plan and always move forward.  I remember the doctor saying that it just healed beautifully. Now the fistula!

“There is always a solution or something for you out there somewhere. Don’t be scared.”

Evelyn is employing some of the most therapeutic techniques for her distress. She is not only telling her story, she is offering help to others. Storytelling is one of the most beneficial tools for dealing with sadness and anger. Reaching out to help others is physically and mentally healing as well.

***

Fiona: “I had a TVT done last Feb, been in chronic, debilitating pain every since. Am 
trying to arrange funds to have removal surgery, scared to death to have one more surgery.”

Fiona is afraid, a normal response to a very real and present danger. When the only alternative is to go back into the very system that hurt you in the first place, being scared to death is a healthy response. He fears will help her to make very cautious and careful decisions for her future medical care.

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Surprisingly, many women were implanted with more than one defective device at the same time:

Ingrid: “I had a TVT-O as well as a ProLift. Stupid and naive that I was, I blindly trusted that they knew what they were doing. What was I thinking?

 “They did this procedure through 6 portals on my inner thighs. When I woke up, the doctor stated I gave them a hard time in that he nicked a blood vessel (fishing through my legs) and I had lost a fair amount of  blood. Things went downhill from there on out.

 “The quality of my life has been really hurt by this ordeal, as one could imagine. Thank God my husband is very understanding.” 



Medicine has changed over the past half-century. It has become a business, and concentrates on turning a profit while minimizing the better good of the patient. Who would not feel betrayed by a botched surgery like this? For a doctor to tell a patient who had been paralyzed and under anesthesia, that she “gave them a hard time?” he has to have lost sight of his role in protecting her from harm. The pathology in this case is the surgeon’s. He did not own up to his own lack of  skill in using the equipment provided to him to complete a proper implant. It’s called blaming the victim.

Also, Ingrid’s husband is providing one of the best “medicines.” Supportive persons can make all the difference because they can counterbalance the inappropriate accusations and botched surgeries like the ones she experienced.

***

Michelle: “To my horror, after going to the bathroom, I discovered my uterus had dropped right out of  my vagina! I can’t possibly describe the feelings of revulsion and guilt that caused. It took me a few days to regain my composure and go to the doctor.”

“Afterward I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand up straight, walk my usual hour a day, or ride in the car more than 15 minutes without getting into so much pain I broke down in tears.”

Michelle’s story illustrates just how important a woman’s pelvic area is to her. Michelle reacted normally for someone injured in her most pivotal, most private place. Michelle was traumatized even though she was asleep during her surgery. Tears for pain and tears for grief are often combined for trauma victims.

MESH INFB Man Woman

Lucille: “I had a TVT and Marina coil fitted at the same time. The surgeon said, ‘Lucille, this is a simple operation with an overnight stay and you will be a new woman.’ He did not mention any complications or risks involved with the TVT. I took his word and trusted he knew what he is doing and accepted to go ahead with the surgery.



“I was and still am a smoker, although I did mention it to him. Once this is all over I will quit! The stresses of life and this awful leakage are disrupting my life.

“Came around from the operation, coughing so bad and my chest really hurt. I was scared. I could not breathe properly. All I could hear was ‘Lucille, you must give up smoking.’

“That night I could not sleep. I was so uncomfortable I kept watching the clock and wishing for morning. Breakfast arrived and I could not eat, had no energy, and told the nurse, ‘I do not feel well.’

The nurse dismissed Lucille’s complaints several times. Instead, she insisted Lucille go for a walk. About 6 steps into the walk, Lucille collapsed and was carried back to bed.

“An urgent x-ray was done, and I was given oxygen. They discovered pulmonary emboli (clots in my lungs) and collapsed lung. I ended up in hospital for the next 10 days!”

“I came home and had severe bleeding. Back into the hospital had marina coil taken out as the doctor assumed it is the coil causing the bleeding. I was not told it could be the TVT!



“Over the next couple of years, I was constantly in and out of hospital, diagnosed with diabetes type 2, heart attack symptoms, tremors, slurred speech, and trouble walking. They could not work out what was wrong with me! I had numerous tests and back and forth to hospital and doctors and was eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.



Three years later, Lucille had more symptoms and her primary doctor told finally diagnosed her vaginal mesh erosion. 

“Enough is enough. We cannot allow this suffering to go on. This mesh should be banned, it has totally destroyed my life.  Although I have kept my mind going with graphic design, I cannot walk very far and now I am housebound! I cannot wait to get this thing out of my body! 

“I am a strong person and believe in inner faith, our beautiful creator has been with me and guiding me through each day, and with constant praying I know eventually this evil mesh stuff will be banned!”

Lucille is employing two of the most potent and effective methods for handling her emotional distress. She is sharing her experience with others giving her a sense of normalcy and community and she relies on her faith in God, giving her personal inner strength. Like Evelyn, she is reaching out to help others.

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Tricia: “For me it centers on ‘informed consent,’ both with the physician and the company that manufactures the mesh. The MD really did a different procedure with a different product than I consented to and that’s just not cool. The standard of informed consent is to provide to a patient with the most common and most serious complications. It also really irks me, as a nurse, that informed consent was really not provided, even after I asked for it.

 “(Before my operation), my doctor had offered several options and I took several weeks to decide. I located four women who’d had bladder surgery using monofilament slings and they all were having problems. I told my surgeon I did not want a (plastic) sling and asked about the biological swine tissue sling. The surgeon instead suggested an abdominal sacral colpopexy. I agreed to this procedure, thinking it was the swine procedure. The patient consent form was in medical terminology and listed the procedure as ‘abdominal sacral colpopexy, transobturator sling.’  The risks listed were ‘bleeding, infection, recurrent cystocele, persistent incontinence, urge incontinence, bladder/bowel injury.’

“(After the surgery,) I had fever, severe abdominal cramping, my right leg was numb, and I felt as if something was lodged at the top of my vagina. I made several visits to the (two) surgeons involved and neither thought I had any valid complaints. Neither would offer a straightforward answer. They never mentioned an implant could be causing my symptoms. 

“At week five I obtained the operating room notes and to my astonishment discovered that two implants were now securely placed in my abdomen: a Gynecare polypropylene 10×10 inch mesh and an AMS Monarc polypropylene mesh sling. I was furious. Because of my anger, the surgeons suggested such things as tranquilizers and psychological help.

“It has been three months and I have seen six surgeons.  I’m told these implants cannot be removed.  My symptoms have intensified.  I am in pain and I am angry.  I recently obtained literature listing the manufacturers risks: ‘foreign body response, vaginal extrusion, erosion through the urethra and surrounding tissue, migration of the device,  fistula formation, adhesion formation, pain, scarring that results in implant contraction, damage to vessels, nerves, bladder, urethra, bowel’ and more. Had I known any of these risks, I would not have had the surgery. I am not alone. I have since spoken with hundreds of men and women who are having complications with implants. Some, like me, didn’t know an implant was part of their surgery until complications arose.”

Tricia’s anger is understandable and normal. She felt she did not need pills or  psychological help and she later turned her anger into action by contacting her congressman and governor and starting a petition to put an end to the practice of performing implants without proper informed consent.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about mesh problems, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to MeshTroubles.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.

 

Vaginal Scars A Tough Problem With Mesh

Were you told a bladder sling is an “easy” solution to a leaky, overactive bladder or pelvic organ prolapse? Easy for the surgeon, maybe, but not so easy for thousands of women. Today’s story about mesh trouble is about vaginal scarring, which can make sexual intercourse difficult, even impossible, cause deformities and increase pain.

Scar tissue, made of collagen, a fibrous tissue that replaces normal tissue after any injury and can adhere to skin, muscle, or connective tissue. It pulls on the surrounding tissue, making it taut and restricting blood flow. It causes pain when it impinges on nerves or restricts the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to an area. Merely cutting the vagina open and sewing it shut in order to implant mesh leaves scarring—adding polypropylene mesh separates the healthy tissues, causing it to struggle to heal and leaving more damage behind.

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Anatomy of a vaginal scar: Even though plastic mesh has been implanted since 1998, scientists really don’t know what they are doing to your body, writing in 2013: “Meshes are widely used in prolapse surgeries to improve anatomical outcomes with little knowledge of the impact on the vagina. Like all organs in the body, the vagina is comprised of several protective layers: adventitia, subepithelium, and smooth muscle layers. Disrupting those important tissues causes scarring. The tissue surrounding the vaginal consists of key structural proteins: collagen, elastin and smooth muscle myosin. These help the vagina to move, stretch and maintain support for its own structure. The introduction of  surgical mesh tho those proteins has the potential to send them into chaos. The more pliable the mesh, the less disorganization occurs in the protective layers. Softer meshes have been recently introduced but they continue to elicit a foreign body response (rejection activity) and encourage thinning of the protective environment which can lead to vaginal erosion.  The 2013 study reported: “Possible mechanisms include the innate immune response and chronic microinjury from mesh micromotion.”

Treatment: Some doctors tell patients that if there is no pain, no dehiscence, no erosion, there will be no treatment. For women who have endured many surgeries trying to relieve mesh comlications, scarring is an enormous issue.

There are a number of treatments available. If the scar is due to infection, antibiotics can reduce infection and inflammation. Estrogen cream and pessaries can improve blood flow and nerve supply to your vagina and promote healthy healing.

The scar can be taken out and the area sewn closed again with newer and smaller sutures—like those used in plastic surgery. Lasers can be used in small areas to dissolve the abnormal tissue and some surgeons combine both modalities.

Physical therapy (PT) can make the tissue more flexible by massaging it or applying ultrasound. Scar tissue massage can be extremely painful and re-traumatizing. Some women cannot tolerate it. For those who can, many report that after months, they find it helps lessen scars.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about mesh problems, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to MeshTroubles.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.