After receiving reports of terrible complications endured by thousands of women, concrete steps have been taken by the Scottish Minister of Health and Wellbeing against vaginal mesh surgery, according to articles made available by various online media sources. Product liability lawsuits against manufacturers of these mesh implants have been filed mainly due to the serious injuries these women suffered after experiencing severe complications. In a West Virginia federal court where thousands of product liability lawsuits are pending under a multidistrict litigation (MDL), a recent court order has listed vaginal mesh trial dates for at least four mesh companies.
While no vaginal mesh lawsuits have been heard before the courts in Scotland, this issue recently gained great prominence after reports were published describing the ordeals of women who had been implanted with these mesh devices. The National Health Service was ordered to take the necessary steps in addressing this important issue at the instance of Mr. Alex Neil, the Minister of Health and Wellbeing.
The Agency’s initial action consisted of the production of revised consent forms and information leaflets which would be made available within two weeks. Women who were planning to undergo pelvic surgery using these mesh implants were to given these leaflets. The revision of consent forms is intended to make both the patient and attending physician aware of all the risks involved as well as other vital information relating to the surgical procedure.
Concerned sectors have also recommended the establishment of an implant register which will put into record all surgeries involving medical devices such as the polypropylene mesh implants, breast implants, and hip replacements. In light of the recent controversy involving the breast implant scandal that shocked the European Union, this was a very timely suggestion.
The assistance of a well-known surgeon from the United States who has been very vocal against vaginal mesh surgeries was sought by anti-mesh campaigners in their effort to advance their cause. Dr. Michael Thomas Margolis of the Bay Area Pelvic Surgery highlighted the dangers of using mesh implants through a letter sent to Minister Alex Neil.
In the letter, Dr. Margolis stated that he had been removing mesh since its introduction and had performed removal surgeries more than 200 times. His experiences in treating women suffering from complication which have resulted to injuries to the bladder, bowel, blood vessels, and the vagina were relayed in his letter. Mentioned also were his involvement with patients who were suffering vaginal mesh erosion, chronic infection, scarring, chronic pain, morbid disfigurement, and loss of function of the vagina.
His letter to the minister also included his observation that marriages have disintegrated as a result of loss of consortium due to the damage caused by the mesh on the woman’s sexual organ. More importantly, according to Dr. Margolis, there are traditional surgical procedures in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence which are effective and may even be superior compared to the use of vaginal mesh devices.