“I read on transvaginal (TVT) mesh forums that women wanted to kill themselves rather than live with TVT side effects but I didn’t really believe they were serious. But I asked the surgeon -- who removed some of my mother’s mesh -- if my own mother could be in so much pain that she would kill herself,” says Kim. “He told me that in fact he knew of two women who chose to commit suicide rather than live with the agony of transvaginal mesh.”
Kim says those two women were scheduled for revision surgery - in an attempt to remove the mesh - but couldn’t face the possibility of it not being successful. Rarely can eroded mesh be completely excised.
“Right up until my mother Pam, age 62, had revision surgery, her doctor told her - for the past two years - there was nothing wrong,” says Kim. To make matters even worse, Pam’s first surgeon did the procedure with a DaVinci robot. “I found out later, from the surgeon who performed the revision surgery, that they slap a piece of mesh tape onto the area and they cannot even see what they are doing with this robot,” says Kim, adding that the surgeon recommended that the mesh be removed because it had eroded through Pam’s vaginal tissue.
“The first surgeon claimed it is better to do the TVM surgery robotically because there is a faster healing time, it is less invasive, and less risk for complications,” Kim explains. “But nothing can be further from the truth. I found out later that the DaVinci manufacturer and the hospital bully doctors into using it, regardless whether it is better for the patient: The hospital gets more money for the surgery, and they charge more to medical insurance plans. So my mom went ahead with this robotic surgery and right away it caused her nothing but trouble.
“My mom never recovered. She complained of feeling worse than before surgery but they said it was just surgical pain. She felt like she was sitting on razor blades, and for the last two years she just about lived on the couch; she couldn’t even sit down. She kept going to the same people who did the surgery and they always said there was nothing wrong.
“And as a result of the DaVinci surgery, she got Clostridium difficile, a bacterial infection that is hard to get rid of. She ended up in ICU with sepsis; her blood pressure plummeted right after the surgery and she almost died. She had thrush for two months - the surgery knocked out her immune system. When she finally went home, mom was debilitated and in agony. She would try to go to the store, cry and leave, doubled over in pain. No meds could help. A pain specialist did multiple injections but nothing worked.”
Pam finally found an ob/gyn and the only surgeon who listened to Pam and believed the mesh was causing her pain. He could actually feel a piece of mesh that had eroded into Pam’s vagina.
“After she got a second opinion from this surgeon, my mom’s original surgeon still insisted that removing the mesh would not help,” adds Kim. “No surgeon wants to take down their own work, but at some point you have to admit an error, even if it wasn’t a surgical error. Either way, patients need to know.”
READ MORE TRANSVAGINAL MESH LEGAL NEWS
“For the past two years, mom cried all the time, she was so depressed,” says Kim. “Now she sat up and ate a meal. I hadn’t even seen her sit up for more than a year. She was afraid to admit she was feeling better: it was too good to be true. She didn’t want to jinx herself. Her pain went from 12 to 3, so it is now manageable. I think this is going to be a long healing process but she can now get groceries by herself, and she is driving.
There is still a possibility that she has nerve damage from the mesh in more than one place. Some of those mesh pieces are like sharp daggers that can pierce through the wrong thing. Every woman should know that transvaginal mesh is wrong, period. “