Senator Derryn Hinch has backed calls for a senate inquiry into what he calls “one of the greatest medical scandals and abuses of mothers in Australia’s history.”
The calls come from women who have been left with catastrophic injuries after being treated with mesh trans-vaginal implants for pelvic organ prolapse, a common condition in women who have given birth.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the first of more than 40 different mesh devices for trans-vaginal surgery to treat prolapse in 2005, despite no scientific evidence of their safe use in prolapse cases and warnings dating back to 2003 of the need for controlled trials on mesh devices.
Victims of the devices, whom Hinch has said were “treated like mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed bullshit by doctors, hospital administrators, the drug companies and even the TGA” have emerged from across Australia to tell their stories of how the devices have destroyed their lives.
Perth mum Stella Channing told Sydney Morning Herald that the mesh used to treat her pelvic organ prolapse, in what she was told would be a simple proceed requiring an overnight stay in hospital has eroded inside her, trapping and scarring the pudendal nerves and leaving her in constant “unbearable” pain. She says that the surgery has “totally destroyed” her life, leaving her unable to work, walk properly, or even pick up her grandchildren.
There is only one surgeon, located in America where lawsuits against makers of the mesh abound, able to operate to rectify the injuries caused by the product.
The Project reported that state health complaint agencies refused to disclose the number of complaints received about the products, and the TGA has advised the Newcastle Herald that it “did not receive any material evidence to enable investigation of a manufacturer”, outraging Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group founder Caz Chisholm.