Four Florida women are speaking out about the misery <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/transvaginal_mesh_injuries">transvaginal mesh devices have brought to their lives. All of the Brevard County women, co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the makers of transvaginal mesh, received the devices during surgery to treat pelvic organ prolapse. Now, they fear their lives will never be the same.
According to Florida Today, an estimated 30to 50 percent of women older than 50 experience some type of pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which pelvic muscles and tissues become weak, allowing organs such as the uterus or bladder to drop. In about 10 percent of such cases, symptoms are severe enough to impact quality of life.
The women interviewed by Florida Today all said their doctors promised repair with transvaginal mesh was the answer to their problems.
“She said it would be wonderful, and I’d feel like a new person,” Dorothy Vogt, now 74, said of her doctor.
Vogt underwent her surgery in October 2009. But when her pain got worse, a second doctor “cut away some of the mesh on an outpatient basis,” which didn’t help, she told Florida Today. Today, Vogt can’t exercise or pick up her grandchildren, and suffers from constant bladder infections.
Charlene Reinhardt, 69, tells a similar story. Her pain worsened after her surgery, and it was found that the mesh had eroded into her rectum and lower abdomen. In a second surgery, doctors removed what mesh they could, but Reinhardt still experiences pain.
Months after Patti Stalnaker’s 2008 surgery, she developed numerous infections under the mesh. She too underwent another procedure to remove mesh, but her pain continues. Stalnaker told Florida Today that even though she suffered from pelvic organ prolapse, her quality of life was better before she underwent her initial surgery with transvagninal mesh.
Lisa Smith, the youngest of the group at 46, told Florida Today that her transvaginal mesh surgery, it was as if she was “walking around with the equivalent of barbed wire inside me,” because of mesh erosion. Despite additional surgeries, she too remains in pain. The incontinence the mesh was supposed to fix has only become worse; she has lost her job and her health insurance.
Unfortunately, the stories these women told are not unusual. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) first issued a warning for transvaginal mesh complications in 2008. Then just last month, the agency issued a second warning, stating complications associated with transvaginal mesh products used in pelvic organ prolapse repair are not rare. In the latest warning, the FDA said it had received more than 2,800 complaints about transvaginal mesh complications since 2009. Of those, more than 1,500 were associated with pelvic organ prolapse repair, and three involved fatalities. In September, the FDA is scheduled to hold an advisory panel meeting to debate whether transvaginal mesh devices should be required to undergo more testing.
Dozens of lawsuits are currently pending against the makers of transvaginal mesh. The four women interviewed by Florida Today are plaintiffs in a complaint involving about 300 women in 34 states.