Mesh vic­tims con­front min­is­ter


Carmel Berry trem­bles as she walks, her eyes wa­ter­ing in pain. She car­ries a cush­ion which ex­plains her predica­ment: ‘‘Painful to sit due to mesh im­plant’’.

Yet Berry from Al­bany bore the pain, along with four other Auck­land women in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion, to meet with Health Min­is­ter Jonathan Cole­man at a pub­lic meet­ing in his North­cote elec­torate on July 13.

The five women were part of the ac­tion group Mesh Down Un­der, which wanted to raise aware­ness about the im­pact of sur­gi­cal mesh com­pli­ca­tions.

Sur­gi­cal mesh is widely used to treat gy­nae­co­log­i­cal or­gan pro­lapse and her­nias, but has a risk of se­vere com­pli­ca­tions. Ac­cord­ing to ACC, in the three years to March 2013, 297 claims for meshre­lated in­juries were ac­cepted.

Berry said she wanted to talk to Cole­man, as the group had pre­vi­ously asked for a meet­ing and were re­ferred to Med­safe.

She was frus­trated at Med­safe’s ap­par­ent lack of ac­tion.

‘‘Noth­ing’s change. Peo­ple are still get­ting in­jured by these. Ac­cord­ing to ACC, 100 peo­ple a year make claims.’’

Dur­ing the meet­ing, at­tended by about 50 peo­ple, Char­lotte Ko­rte from Ti­ti­rangi asked why there had not been ac­tion on sur­gi­cal mesh.

‘‘Why have you let this largescale med­i­cal mis­ad­ven­ture con­tinue and when will you do some­thing to pre­vent it?’’

Cole­man ac­knowl­edged the sur­gi­cal mesh com­pli­ca­tions had been very dif­fi­cult for pa­tients.

But he said Par­lia­ment’s Health Se­lect Com­mit­tee had made some very clear rec­om­men­da­tions about sur­gi­cal mesh and these were be­ing im­ple­mented.

When Ko­rte said there had been no ac­tion, Cole­man said he would take an­other look at the sit­u­a­tion but he would not prom­ise a meet­ing with the group.

Af­ter the meet­ing, Ko­rte said she wanted to see, at least, a reg­is­ter of pa­tients who have sur­gi­cal mesh im­plants, so the ex­tent of the prob­lem could be tracked.

On its web­site, Med­safe said this would be con­sid­ered as part of the de­vel­op­ment of a com­pre­hen­sive regime to reg­u­late ther­a­peu­tic prod­ucts in New Zealand. It did not give a time­frame for this.

Cole­man said it was the first time one of his se­ries of pub­lic meet­ings had been at­tended by a con­certed group.

The meet­ing cov­ered a wide range of top­ics prompted by ques­tions from the au­di­ence.


Sur­gi­cal mesh vic­tim Carmel Berry wants to share her story in hope it will not hap­pen to any­one else.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.