San Antonio, TX: When patients have hernia repair surgery, they do not expect that down the road they will be in worse shape than before surgery. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to some patients who received Kugel Mesh Hernia Patches. Yvonne G. had a hernia repair and is still suffering because of complications from the hernia patch.
"I got an incisional hernia, and had surgery to repair the hernia ," Yvonne says. "The surgery went well, but after that I started having problems with pain and with my stomach. The problems didn't start until years after the repair. Then, I started seeing a specialist because my primary care doctor said I was having too many problems with my bladder and he was not sure what the problem was.
"Recently, I started having severe pain on my left side. I ended up in hospital and was told I had an abscess on my intestine. The doctors had to remove a foot of my intestine and I ended up with a triple infection, so they had to remove my ovaries as well. My primary physician informed me that I had an E. coli infection in my bladder and the abscess was too hard of a mass for them to try to drain or shrink, so they had to remove part of the intestine.
"After the repair surgery, I had open wounds where the surgical incision was and I was at home with a home healthcare nurse., The wounds were open for four months. They didn't want to close the wounds because of the mesh patch that I had—it had infected my intestines and you could see the patch through the wounds I had. The patch was exposed and the infection had eaten up all the granulated flesh. The doctor informed me that I would need another surgery to remove the patch because there was no way I would heal as the patch was making the infection worse.
"I had the surgery and the doctors left my belly open—you could even see my intestines. During that time, my intestines erupted, so I had a third surgery during which they fixed a fistula because there was stuff coming out of my intestines. The doctor said that the patch broke up inside me and had cut up my intestines. "During that surgery, the doctor removed all my stomach muscle—I have to wear support belts now. I also have to take a lifetime of stool softeners because if I get constipated I could rip or damage my intestines from the inside.
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"This has had a huge impact on my life. I can't even get out of bed on my own. I have to wear my support belt 24 hours a day—I can only take it off to shower. I've lost my job, lost my car, lost everything. Depression has been a factor throughout this time in my life, but the worst is the change in the regular things I do at home.
"My advice is if you're feeling bad, check on it. I have an excellent surgeon but he didn't tell me that I had a defective product in me. I had to get the paperwork and everything and that's how I found out that I had that item [the Kugel Mesh Patch] in me. I know that with recalled items they say someone will contact you but that's not always true. If you have a hunch, do something about it."
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