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FDA might ban mesh product called "dangerous" | Health

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FDA might ban mesh product called "dangerous"
Health, News

Tampa, Florida - Barbara Campbell says her life has changed completely.

She can no longer play with her kids.

She can't have sex with her husband.

She can barely work.

The blonde mother-of-two says she spends most of her off-time suffering with a heating pad on the couch.

She is in pain all the time.

It all started when she began having pelvic problems several years ago.

Barbara suffered from Pelvic Organ Prolapse, a common condition in women where the bladder drops.

It happens to women who have had children or as they grow older.

It turns out 40% of American women are suffering from the condition.

The previous doctor who used to treat Barbara said that mesh was the answer, since it was supposed to strengthen and support her bladder.

But, the mesh product surgically placed in her body turned out to be a nightmare.

More than 300 women around the country have filed suit against the makers of the mesh, including twelve women from the Bay area.

Barbara is one of them.

"You know your body and no matter what, you know when something is wrong. I knew something was wrong," Barbara said.

She adds, "It's been horrible, having the surgery in general. Within a week after surgery, I ended up having to go back in hospital after complications."

Barbara had the mesh removed, but still suffered from debilitating pain.

She recently began receiving pelvic pain physical therapy from Gina Parsonis from Foundation Physical Therapy, Inc. located in both Clearwater and Largo.

To visit, you cango here to read more.

Gina and her husband enjoy helping people through therapy.

"Patients that come in with pain in their pelvis area with intercourse, pain in the sacrum, I usually can improve them and make it go away," said Gina, while helping Barbara at the Clearwater location.

Barbara's pelvic pain therapy includes deep tissue massage-type treatments in Barbara's pelvic area to relieve the pain.

Barbara is hopeful.

But, she still is uneasy about the mesh and is hoping the FDA will ban it.

Hearings are going on in the Washington D.C. area right now to determine whether or not the mesh product will remain on the market.

The hearings will continue on Friday.

Barbara says she trusted her previous doctor who placed the mesh in her lower abdomen.

"Approximately two months later, the doctor could feel mesh eroding into the vaginal area," Barbara said.

Dr. Lennox Hoyte from USF is now treating Barbara, along with other Bay area women, who are suffering from complications with the mesh product.

Dr. Hoyte said, "It starts affecting your well being and quality of life. All of these women here talked about how great their life was and how they go to work they play with their kids, teach horseback riding, active women."

He says he wants to not only treat women from the Bay area, but also be a good listener.

"These are not slouches. These are real women out there taking the world by storm," says Dr. Hoyte.

Dr. Hoyte added that he has never spoken with Barbara's former doctors or interacted with them.

Barbara admits that she's cried in Dr. Hoyte's office where he says the problem with the surgical mesh is that it doesn't always adapt well with the female body.

He also says many of these women may not have been fully prepared by their previous physicians.

Dr. Hoyte said, "I have to tell you, beneath all of this, is really a sense that I went in for this over here, I got told this, and this was done to me and the outcome was not what I expected."

Doctors can't always remove the mesh completely which these women say, further complicates their health problems.

Right now, 300 women in 36 states are suing the makers of the mesh, including the company, Bard.

The numbers continue to grow by the day as far as increases in the number of women now suing the makers of the mesh product.

In the beginning it was supposed to be a simple procedure, one that that has now, these ladies say, ruined their lives.

They are wives, mothers, and friends. The women range in age from 37 to 69 years old. They have bright eyes and warm smiles.

It is clear they love life and, at one time, enjoyed being active. One of them used to teach horseback riding. Another says her son is a competitive athlete, and she used to spend time with him outside.

However, those days are long gone.

These women, once filled with passion, are now bed-ridden some days. The pain they experience is enough to make them cry.

One of them lost her marriage. Another had a hard time keeping a job. They no longer have sex with their husbands. It is too painful.

"I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," said 60-year-old Patricia McCrearty.

Patricia gave birth to two girls years ago. She realized that, as time went on, she began having bladder problems later in life.

"I got tired of going to the bathroom every 15 minutes, wearing a pad at night, going to the bathroom two and three times a night, and if I went any place, I'd have to make sure there's a bathroom," Patricia admitted.

Each day became a nightmare.

Now, a dozen other women are sharing their stories, so similar to Patricia's, that these ladies have developed a new friendship of sorts, a kindred spirit.

All of these Bay area women have one big thing in common. According to their attorney, Henry Garrard, they all had surgery to get a mesh device implanted in their pelvic region.

Their reasons for surgery were similar and common. After childbirth, the women said they experienced either bladder leakage or prolapse.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse is where the bladder drops, a condition where, the women say, they were embarrassed.

They wanted to fix it, but they had no way of knowing that by fixing it the problems would begin.

A dozen Bay area women are now suing the maker of the mesh, a company called Bard.

The ladies were suggested by their doctors to have a popular procedure performed, where surgical mesh is implanted. It is supposed to reinforce the vaginal wall. However, the attorney for the women claims that instead of strengthening the bladder, the mesh is not well-made, it's not being implanted properly, and, ultimately, it's eroding in the bodies of these ladies.

Barbara Campbell is a 37-year-old mother of two boys. She described what she was going through. "The back pain, the hip pain, pelvic pain. I couldn't be with my husband anymore."

She added, "At times, I can't walk because my pelvic area feels like it's on the floor, so much pain."

Another mother, Kelli Taliaferro, who has four children, says her life changed forever after she had the surgery. "Little things that you used to do like laundry, standing up doing dishes, that becomes a nightmare."

The attorney for the women told 10 News, "Doing this surgery is more complicated than doing a heart bypass surgery, but the companies don't tell the doctors that. They don't let them know that. They say it's a simple procedure. You can do a lot of them."

More than 300 women in 36 states and Canada have now filed lawsuits. It turns out the mesh was not approved by the FDA. It was simply cleared to be marketed, and now these women in Tampa Bay say they are living a nightmare.

Even though they felt embarrassed, they wanted to warn other women out there. These ladies feel that they were not given enough options to fix their problems.

One of them remarked, "If I had only known, maybe if I was given more choices.; I did what my doctor told me to do."

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