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Mesh ‘forced me into early retirement’

UK News | Published:

The review into pelvic mesh details how some women felt “excruciating chronic pain feeling like razors inside their body”.

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Debbie Cox was a teacher, but mesh complications forced her into early retirement.

A review into pelvic mesh has concluded that thousands of patients could have been spared complications from the surgery.

Women told the review team they they suffered “excruciating chronic pain feeling like razors inside their body, damage to organs, the loss of mobility and sex life and depression and suicidal thoughts”.

Ms Cox also believes that mesh is partly to blame for the breakdown of her marriage.

In 2001, she was fitted with mesh after suffering a prolapse following childbirth.

For five years she was “fine”, but then started to have adverse side effects including bladder and pelvic pain.

Debbie Cox said the pain was ‘unbearable’ (PA)

Ms Cox, 56, from Tyne and Wear, said that for almost 10 years her pleas for help went largely unanswered as medics tried various different treatments – such as tablets for overactive bladder, antibiotics, painkillers.

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Around the same time, her marriage of 26 years ended.

“I was in so much pain and things were becoming unbearable,” she told the PA news agency.

“I had a full removal on March 12, 2020. I am recovering now. And only four months on, the difference is outstanding.

“If I had been told that these are the potential risks of this mesh being insert and over time, could erode, move, cause extreme pelvic pain, frequent UTIs, cause immune issues….. I would never have agreed to have this done.”

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The mother of two added: “I had to retire early from teaching in December 2019 as I dropped down to zero pay whilst waiting to have TVT removed.”

Madeline Marchand has mesh implanted in 2010 after suffering with incontinence.

The former estate agent, who is now retired, told PA: “I went to see my gynaecology surgeon privately, who sold me the mesh on the basis it was an easy operation, solve all my problems, out of hospital in a day, etc.

“I had the operation done privately and it all went wrong. By the time the evening came, at which point I was supposed to be home, I was bleeding hugely and the surgeon had to be recalled from his home in the evening.”

After she was discharged, she made many return visits after suffering so much pain that she could not stand or even sit without discomfort.

Madeline Marchand described how she has been left with acute pain after being fitted with mesh (PA)

The 70-year-old from Kingsbridge, Devon, said she “lived” with the pain for many years until it was discovered that the mesh had damaged her bladder.

She said: “The pain in the groin is acute, the whole region is numb, and whilst I can walk, any bending down, gardening, or anything which extends the right leg, is out of the question.”

Lisa Morland said she should have been told about the potential long-term implications of mesh before she had it fitted in 2015.

The 49-year-old customer service adviser from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne suffered stress urinary incontinence.

Ms Morland has described the ‘excruciating pain’ due to mesh (PA)

She said she did not suffer any side effects for the first year after the surgery.

But she then struggled with painful constipation, issues with urinating, stomach pains and pain around her hips and back.

“I am now finding it very difficult to walk – walking for 20 minutes even just to do a small shop leads to excruciating pain which reduces me to tears,” she told the PA news agency.

“This pain is from my hips and back and is complete agony and leads me to take to my bed as it is exhausting and wears me out.

“Normal every day tasks like cooking a family meal, ironing, hoovering or washing dishes has the same impact.”

She added: “I could have been given the truth, all of the facts about what could go wrong about how having this surgery could affect me, my long-term health.

“That it was known from 11 years prior to my surgery that the manufacturers knew this mesh could shrink, erode, cause more damage than good and potentially lead me to where I am today looking for removal due to the deteriorating health and quality of life.”

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