Campaigners call for surgical mesh inquiry

  • 27/05/2015

Campaigners against the use of surgical mesh have told a select committee there is new evidence that the polypropylene mesh degrades in the body, causing severe pain and complications.

Carmel Berry and Charlotte Korte are calling for a commission of inquiry and a national register so that mesh implants and removals can be tracked.

Surgical mesh is used in the treatment of hernias, pelvic prolapses and incontinence, among other procedures.

Ms Kortee and Ms Berry are campaigning for a commission of inquiry into its use, telling a select committee there's new evidence from a Canadian researcher that shows it's harmful.

"It does degrade in the human body and it does have a chemical reaction in the human body, and this is contrary to the manufacturers' instructions," says Ms Berry.

Since April 2005, more than 550 ACC claims involving the mesh have been decided, with 80 percent accepted.

"Why would we have one agency accepting ACC claims while we continue with the use of a product that's leading to claims?" says Labour health spokeswoman Annette King. "It doesn't make sense to me."

For Ms Berry and Ms Korte it's personal. Both suffered pain and complications when mesh was used in the treatment of a prolapse.

"I basically couldn't stand up for longer than two minutes," says Ms Korte. "I was in such chronic pain."

"The mesh didn't do its job," says Ms Berry. "I re-prolapsed and then I suffered from a chronic pain condition."

They say the mesh needs to be reclassified as what's known as a class III medical device.

"[That] would require manufacturers to provide additional safety evidence before they could continue to market those products," says Ms Berry. "We don't believe manufacturers have that evidence."

They're also calling for a register, like that established for artificial hips and knees so that the use of mesh and its outcomes can be monitored.

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source: newshub archive