“I simply phoned administration at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes and they told me when I could come by and pick them up anytime,” explains Ruth (not her real name). "I offered to pay and she said, 'Oh no, you don’t have to do that.' I have at least 50 pages. The administration lady also said that a lot of people who had transvaginal mesh or TVT surgery have also picked up their medical records. I guess they do a lot of surgeries here but this surprised me.”
Ruth, age 77, had the TVM surgery in 2009 and—unlike many women--had a good recovery. “I put my make-up on the second day in hospital,” she says, laughing. “I’m not vain but it makes you feel better. You have to be prepared. If someone comes along and wants to go somewhere I’m ready.
"Seriously, it was a relief to go to the bathroom and not have everything fall out. Before the surgery my bladder would drop and it would literally stick out; sometimes I would have to push it back in while I sat on the toilet,” Ruth explains. “But now I have trouble controlling my bladder, which was never a problem before the surgery. I know that this TVM is often used for incontinence, but I had pelvic organ prolapse.
"Now I have to wear something a bit heavier than a panty liner all the time. You learn to think ahead—when I go out anywhere I go to the bathroom first. That isn’t a huge problem but you have to remember to do that."
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"I’m not an ambulance chaser and I’m not trying to get something for nothing. I’m not mad at my doctor because I don’t believe he knew about the TVM complications back then but I am mad at the manufacturer and how they got it approved in the first place.”