Arnie’s wife had urinary incontinence and, like so many women, trusted her doctor when he advised her to have a transvaginal mesh sling. “The first time we had sex after waiting a few months after her surgery she complained of pain,” says Arnie (not his real name). “I have been telling her for months that it tears my skin tissue on my penis during intercourse, it is causing shredding on my penis and causing us to not have sex, and now we are getting divorced.”
If Arnie’s wife was able to have the mesh removed sooner, their marriage might have been saved. Again, she didn’t question her doctor or research the TVT before having the implant. “She asked her doctor if the mesh could ‘nip’ my penis during sex,” Arnie adds. “He said the mesh couldn’t possibly hurt me and I must have cut my penis on something. I would know if it was something else. This doctor made our relationship worse - perhaps my wife doesn’t trust me now.”
Loss of consortium means the inability of one’s partner to have normal sexual intercourse. This loss arises as a claim for damages when the partner has been injured and cannot participate in sexual relations for a certain length of time or permanently due to physical injury or mental distress due to a defendant’s (in this case, the transvaginal mesh manufacturer) wrongdoing.
“My wife is currently on another round of antibiotics. She has had one infection after another since getting the mesh implant and normal sex is no longer pleasurable,” says Ron. “She needs to get this stuff taken out but she can’t find a doctor to remove it. I can’t believe the surgeon who implanted this mesh won’t take it out. We haven’t had sex for almost a year; it’s got to the point where I might have to pay for sex. I should get reimbursed from the mesh maker for that too!”
Bits of eroded transvaginal mesh can protrude through the vaginal wall and can cut the penis during sexual intercourse. As well as pain, a hematoma (a collection of blood under the skin) could develop on the penis. Lacerations of the penis may be serious: it can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves.
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A California jury in 2012 found that Bard, the Avaulta transvaginal mesh maker, was negligent and returned a $5.5 million verdict for plaintiff Christine Scott, including $5 million for her medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages, and $500,000 for her husband’s loss of consortium claim.