Ann had a recent physical and her doctor thought she might have another hernia. Fortunately, she had the mesh removed before it could cause even more complications: the FDA had designated some lots of Kugel Mesh X-Large Patch as a Class I recall, which means a product is so dangerous or defective that it could cause serious health problems and even death. Ann is lucky to be alive.
“The surgeon looked at my records, determined that I had Kugel mesh implanted 10 years ago for a hernia repair, and it would have to come out to repair this new hernia,” Ann explains. “But when my surgeon got in there, the mesh had expanded into my colon and at that point, he couldn’t even repair the hernia; he had to cut into my colon and remove it. With everything else being such a mess, he said in about one year I would need another surgery. All around the mesh it was like jelly - he didn’t even know if the stitches would hold after the surgery.”
To make matters worse, Ann wound up with peritonitis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the abdomen's lining, which usually develops when an injury or infection in the abdominal cavity allows infectious organisms into the peritoneum. After the ileostomy surgery, which usually involves removing the whole of the large intestine or in Ann’s case, the colon, she had to wear a drainage bag but it leaked into her body.
“I was back in the hospital but this time for four months because this bag kept leaking,” Ann says. “My surgeon explained that he was waiting for the hole in my intestines to heal and then he could take out the bag and stitch me up again. The nurses had to change the bag several times a day - it was horrible.
“Thankfully I have a great surgeon - this poor guy was cleaning up the other surgeon’s mess! My first surgery to repair the hernia was last April and on Mother’s Day, I had the second surgery for peritonitis. I ruined my family’s plans; they spent the day visiting me in the hospital - I am also thankful to my family for their support.” Last August Ann endured a third surgery to repair the hole in her intestine.
“I insisted on going home and my doctor reluctantly released me,” says Ann. “My sister stayed with me and my brother-in-law drove me everywhere. I am usually the caregiver in my family; I never expected to need help.”
Ann, age 67, wasn’t planning on retiring anytime soon but these surgeries were the deciding factor. She was out of work for almost seven months and when she returned, Ann knew she couldn’t work any longer. In the hospital she was so sick that she couldn’t even get out of the bed and walk to the bathroom without help. At one point Ann thought she had Crohn’s disease but now that the mesh has been removed, she is “back to normal.”
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“One attorney asked me if the Kugel Mesh memory ring broke but my surgeon couldn’t even tell if it was broken, he was just concerned with removing everything. He certainly was not prepared for the mess he saw! I don’t have a belly button anymore: My incision starts two inches above from where my belly button was, and about seven inches past. And I have a scar going the other way from the third surgery. No wonder I couldn’t get out of bed some days.”