'Like a cheese grater inside your body': Kiwis harmed by surgical mesh urged to speak up

Victims who have experienced serious complications are calling for major changes.

Brenda Atchison had mesh implanted in her body to treat urinary stress incontinence and for years after the operation, she was in excruciating pain.

"The pain was like somebody had put pokers, hot pokers all in my pelvic area," she said.

One day, Atchison’s doctor told her that her pain was a mystery. 

"I said I don't want to be a mystery, I want to be well," Atchison said.

"I trusted them to look after me, to listen to me, not just give me antidepressants and painkillers. I wasn't depressed." 

Sam Bennett has the same story and said the pain is like cheese grater inside your body.

Alongside 800 others, they’ve shared their story with the Ministry of Health who is looking into the impact of surgical mesh.

Another victim, Patricia Sullivan, started her own group Mesh Down Under and they conducted their own report into the issue.

"We have someone who spends 23 hours a day on her stomach in bed. We have people with no bladder control left or bowel control," she said.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has apologised and said they are "very regretful" that some women have had adverse outcomes.

The College still firmly stands by the procedure of using mesh tape.

Patricia Sullivan is now calling for the creation of a register of all women who receive surgical mesh implants, more surgeon training and for more help from ACC.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging anyone affected by surgical mesh, who has not yet shared their story, to do so at restorativehealth.net.

People wishing to submit their feedback in this format have until the 31st of October 2019.