Top US sur­geon of­fers to help Scots suf­fer­ers

World-lead­ing ex­pert of­fers to fly in for month of op­er­a­tions

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By Mar­ion Scott [email protected]

Oneof the world’s most skilled mesh re­moval sur­geons has of­fered to come to Scot­land to help ease the agony of des­per­ate vic­tims.

Dr Diony­s­ios Veronikis has op­er­ated on mesh vic­tims in Amer­ica and around the world and has said he is will­ing to come to Scot­land.

The St Louis-based sur­geon said: “I have decades of ex­pe­ri­ence re­mov­ing mesh, and have de­vel­oped sur­gi­cal tools and pro­ce­dures to en­sure the im­plant is safely re­moved in one piece.

“I do not be­lieve there is any point in par­tial re­moval. Only full re­moval of the im­plant will give the pa­tient the best pos­si­ble chance of be­ing able to re­claim their lives.

“As far as I am con­cerned, mesh is the sin­gle dark­est chap­ter in gy­nae­co­log­i­cal surgery and I will do all I can to help free as many women as pos­si­ble from pain.”

Dr Veronikis said he is “not in­ter­ested” in mak­ing money from the scan­dal.

He said: “If the Scot­tish Govern­ment agree to pay my costs and cover my earn­ings, I would be happy to come and work five or six days a week for a month at a time to see as many pa­tients as pos­si­ble.

“All I need are my in­stru­ments, my as­sis­tant, and an op­er­at­ing the­atre with ap­pro­pri­ate staff.

“I would even be happy to help train sur­geons who may have the qual­i­ties needed to per­form full mesh re­moval so even more women are helped to live pain free and get their lives back.

“I am see­ing mesh vic­tims here in my clinic from all over the world, from the UK to Kenya, Spain, Italy, Poland, Canada, Ja­maica and Switzer­land.

“When I show them the mesh I have re­moved, they are so re­lieved.”

Cam­paign­ers are now call­ing on Health Sec­re­tary Jeanne Free­man to agree to fund the sur­geon’s trip as the NHS strug­gles to re­move the im­plants that have in­flicted life-chang­ing in­juries on thou­sands of women world­wide.

Elaine Holmes of Scot­tish Mesh Sur­vivors says hun­dreds of women have been “aban­doned by NHS sur­geons be­cause they do not have the skill to do full mesh re­moval”.

She said: “This is a life­line. Women have been vir­tu­ally aban­doned and left in ter­ri­ble pain as no­body here can suc­cess­fully and safely fully re­move the par­tic­u­lar type of mesh im­plants most used in Scot­land.

“Many are so des­per­ate to see Dr Veronikis that they are talk­ing about sell­ing their homes to fund the trip to see him in the US.

“We did not ask to be left crip­pled and in wheel­chairs, the very least NHS Scot­land can now do is get Dr Veronikis over here and pay him to help us.

“Fund­ing him would be a cost sav­ing in the long run as it would hope­fully do away with the con­stant need for treat­ment so many of us have had to suf­fer.

“The Health Sec­re­tary and First Min­is­ter have of­ten said that there is ca­pac­ity at the for­mer pri­vate hos­pi­tal The Golden Ju­bilee, and that would be per­fect for Dr Veronikis.”

Scot­tish NHS boards have been fund­ing women to at­tend a spe­cial­ist clinic in Lon­don to see sur­geon So­hier El­neil, of­ten re­quir­ing sev­eral vis­its.

But it was an­nounced last week that Dr El­neil’s list, at Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don Hos­pi­tal, is closed and she has a huge back­log.

A spokesman for UCLH said: “We are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a high de­mand in re­fer­rals to Ms El­neil, which has led to pa­tients wait­ing con­sid­er­ably longer than the NHS rec­om­mended wait time of 18 weeks.”

MSP Neil Find­lay is back­ing the call for Dr Veronikis to get fund­ing to come to Scot­land to treat the hun­dreds of mesh-in­jured women.

He said: “I’m writ­ing to Health Sec­re­tary Jeanne Free­man for­mally ask­ing her to do this and get the man who can help Scot­land’s mesh in­jured women as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

“It is scan­dalous vic­tims are so des­per­ate for help that they are con­sid­er­ing sell­ing their homes to get the help they need from this man in the US.

“Dr Veronikis has said he is happy to come, and he would be will­ing to train Scot­tish sur­geons in his tech­nique, there­fore as no one in the NHS in Scot­land can do this pro­ce­dure, I think the Scot­tish Govern­ment should con­sider this of­fer se­ri­ously.

“These are ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances that re­quire an ex­cep­tional re­sponse.

“These women did not ask to be left in so much pain, the govern­ment has a duty to do what it can to pro­vide the help and ex­per­tise they need.”

And for­mer Health Sec­re­tary Alex Neil said: “I’ll also be ask­ing Jeanne Free­man to con­sider this re­quest and fund Dr Veronikis, which would be cost ef­fec­tive in the long run.

“These in­jured women must get the help they need, and if our own doc­tors can­not pro­vide it then we should be pur­su­ing Dr Veronikis and his kind of­fer of help.”

‘ Mesh is a dark chap­ter and I will do ev­ery­thing I can to ease the pain of as many women as I can – Lead­ing sur­geon Diony­s­ios Veronikis

Dr Diony­s­ios Veronikis, cen­tre and left, has de­vel­oped tech­niques which can com­pletely re­move mesh, leav­ing vic­tims pain-free

So­hier El­neil had to close her lists

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