Jane (not her real name) and James are now including loss of consortium in their transvaginal mesh lawsuit. But let’s start back in 2009. Incredibly, Jane believes she didn’t even need “the alien thing”.
“I had my regular Pap test and my doctor noticed a bulge—my bladder was protruding into my vagina,” Jane says. “I had no idea, and I didn’t have any incontinence problems, but she referred me to a urologist who just went ahead and implanted me with a Bard transvaginal mesh sling.” Just two weeks later Jane had terrible incontinence, for the first time in her life. She couldn’t hold even a small amount of urine and had to wear pads. “I think Dr. Pringle just wanted to put it in for the money,” she says, adding that she complained but Dr. Pringle (who is no longer practicing) said it was “normal” and the TVM side effects would “go away”. But they got worse.
A few years later Jane and James saw an ad on TV and she joined the class action lawsuit against Bard (C.R. Bard Inc. agreed in 2015 to pay more than $200 million to resolve at least 3,000 cases by women injured by its transvaginal mesh. Jane received $32,000). By 2013 Jane had found another urologist who said he could help with her incontinence problem by removing the existing mesh and implanting another, Ethicon transvaginal mesh —by now she was wearing pads like a baby needs diapers. But the first mesh couldn’t be removed: It had eroded into her bladder.
“After about a month I was having a bath and my bladder was in a big knot, like a charley horse. I was stuck in the bathtub in tears,” says Jane. “Every time I had a bath it was the same problem; if I went swimming I’d probably drown. I think this second mesh was too tight so next up, they put me to sleep and I had a round of botox—30 injections into my bladder. And that ain’t even the half of it.”
The botox had stopped the spasms but it had relaxed her bladder too much. Now Jane had to self-catheterize for six months followed by nasty urinary tract infections. And repeat.
Now it’s summer, 2015. “We were having sex and James got cut; he could feel stitches or something really hard on the right side of my vagina,” Jane says. “He was bleeding.” Back to the hospital, she had yet another general anesthetic (and they take a toll in themselves) and the urologist cut out all the visible mesh.
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Jane hasn’t been able to work as a cashier since 2009. Part of her job entailed lifting 50lb crates of beer, but after the transvaginal mesh implant she couldn’t lift more than a 10 lb bag of sugar.
“The Alien caused James and I to separate because it messed up our sex life but we got back together again. However, I don’t see a good future and definitely no more intercourse,” says Jane. “The alien thing has taken so much out of me and I hardly go out anywhere, I don’t want to do anything. What a life.”