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Growing number of surgical mesh injuries unacceptable

Wednesday 5 September 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The growing number of patients suffering from surgical mesh injuries is totally unacceptable. Government still to take action.

Medsafe and ACC records now show a whopping jump to over a thousand everyday New Zealanders who have reported that they are suffering with dreadful complications caused by a plastic medical implant known as surgical mesh.

Carmel Berry and Charlotte Korte petitioned the New Zealand Health Select Committee back in 2014 and begged for a full inquiry into its use. They were told that an inquiry would take too long to make effective changes.

“We were lead to believe that the committee would make strong recommendations restricting the use of surgical mesh within a very short timeframe” said Carmel Berry today “but apart from the withdrawal of some pelvic mesh products late last year, very little has changed at all – except the ongoing and continually increasing numbers of patients suffering.”

“When we established patient support group Mesh Down Under in 2012 we had just six members, now we have over 650 members, and I’m seeing at least ten new enquiries to join every single week” Berry explained. “Too often the new members have had their mesh implanted for less than a year and are struggling with chronic pain, battling with ACC to get their injuries covered and searching for medical help. Increasingly our members are a family member who just doesn’t know where else to turn after being told their loved one will have to learn to live with the pain”.

Posts by members of Mesh Down Under showed great appreciation for Christine Rankin’s open letter that was sent to the government this morning. Christine has herself spoken out publically about how she suffered significantly from a mesh implant and how difficult it was for her to get an acknowledgement of the complications and effective revision surgery.

Ms Rankin joined their call for the government to follow the lead of the UK in halting the use of surgical mesh for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence. Christine has echoed many of the points that Mesh Down Under has also alerted the government to, including the words of Baroness Cumberlege who is leading a review in Britain:

"We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries”.

"We must have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and those are sadly lacking at the moment."

"We strongly believe that mesh must not be used to treat women with stress urinary incontinence until we can manage the risk of complications much more effectively,"

“All of the countries in the UK have now imposed a suspension of these procedures” said Berry “its high time New Zealand health officials put patient safety first and put a halt to these procedures until proper credentialing and patient care pathways are established”.



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