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TVM Mesh Leaves Women Very Sick, and Very Angry

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Winnipeg, MBWomen who experience problems with their TVT sling have comrades-in-arms the world over, it appears. In Canada, our neighbor to the immediate north, several hundred women are filing a transvaginal mesh lawsuit alleging serious complications. Meanwhile, much farther away, Australian women are taking up a similar cause against manufacturers of the problematic product alleged to have impacted women’s lives in terms described as “horrific.”

Joan Isaacs is one of those Australian women who has been through hell and back, all due to a product once touted as the “be all and end all” to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a common condition characterized by the sagging of internal organs into the pelvis and uterus, and caused by weakened muscles stemming from the rigors of childbirth. Incontinence is another symptom for which a transvaginal sling is often prescribed.

According to The Courier Mail (3/25/13), the use of a TVT mesh was recommended by a reconstructive surgeon, and Isaacs underwent the procedure in 2006. Almost immediately, she encountered health issues. “My children watched me deteriorate from the outgoing, fun-loving, healthy woman that I was to someone who was very sick,” Mrs. Isaacs said.

Her husband, looking forward to an active retirement with his wife, wound up becoming her full-time caregiver.

Isaacs, according to the report, had undergone two operations to implant two products manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). One of the two was the Prolift + M product that J&J recalled in August 2012. Not long after, a urologist ordered the “urgent” removal of both mesh products from Isaacs’ body. Only then, after six long years, was Isaacs free of pain.

In total, according to the report, Isaacs endured eight rounds of surgery and regular injections for inflamed nerves. “I feel very angry that this happened to me and it was allowed to go on for so long,” she said of her transvaginal mesh complication, in comments published in The Courier Mail. It is estimated that Australian women for whom TVM mesh manufactured by Johnson & Johnson was the response of choice to POP, number into the tens of thousands.

In Canada, statements of claim have been filed in three provinces. Should any of the claims achieve certification in any one province, women from across Canada will have access to the class-action transvaginal mesh lawsuit.

Attorneys familiar with the Canadian situation maintain that women have seen their lives destroyed, and that TVT side effects leave them unable to work. One law firm filing separate trans vaginal mesh lawsuits (numbering about 100 so far), describe the mesh debacle as “a horrible problem,” in comments published in the Winnipeg Free Press (2/8/13).

In this country, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered all manufacturers of vaginal slings to conduct post-market analysis of their products. Additionally, the FDA no longer views TVT sling surgery as a preferred treatment option for POP and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The safety and efficacy of the transvaginal tape sling has been called into question due to TVT side effects, and is quickly becoming the treatment of last resort.

Many women have suffered uterine and vaginal perforations after the problematic mesh migrates away from initial placement, causing pain and even impacting intercourse between partners. Other plaintiffs have claimed their mesh has become intertwined with vital organs.

Isaacs, in Australia, was fortunate in that she was able to have the transvaginal mesh successfully removed. Other women have not been so lucky. In some cases, the mesh has become so impacted with vital tissue that removal is impossible, leaving the plaintiff to face a lifetime of pain, and a front-row seat in a court of law…


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