FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–When Susana, a 54-year-old mother of two from Davie, Florida, consented to transvaginal mesh surgery in 2007, she never expected to develop problems 10 times worse than the incontinence that the mesh was supposed to fix.
Susana told South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel that the transvaginal mesh device made by American Medical Systems Inc. has ruined her life. Now after years of pain and four surgeries, she wants to hold the manufacturer accountable for allegedly making and marketing a defective and dangerous medical product.
Susana filed a lawsuit against the company, joining more than 650 other women from across the country who are taking manufacturers of transvaginal mesh to court, seeking damages for sometimes horrific and permanent injuries.
Surgeons often use transvaginal mesh to treat women with stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, conditions typically brought about by childbirth or age. When weakened pelvic floor muscles cause the lower organs to fall out of place (prolapse) or function improperly, transvaginal mesh can be surgically implanted to shore up the muscles and keep the pelvic organs in place.
However, complications may occur if the mesh shifts out of place, falls apart, or erodes into the vaginal wall. Problems caused by defective vaginal mesh include pain, perforated organs, bleeding, infection, painful sexual intercourse, and other serious injuries.
Because transvaginal mesh products are designed to become permanently intertwined with surrounding tissue, removing them after time is often an extremely difficult task requiring multiple surgeries. In some cases, the mesh has become so embedded that it cannot be removed, leaving the victim to face a lifetime of pain management.
After undergoing four surgeries to remove the mesh, Susana was told that she will never be completely free of it or the intense pain it creates. She told the Sun-Sentinel that the sexual intercourse has become so painful that just the thought of it makes her cringe.
“Her 31-year marriage is suffering, and she is so anxious and demoralized that she’s on tranquilizers,” the Sun-Sentinel explains.
“If you put it on a scale of 1 to 10, [my original problem] was a 10. Now it’s over 100,” Susana told the Sun-Sentinel. “My quality of life will never be the same,” she added.
She also hopes to spare other women from living the same nightmare that overshadowed her own life. “I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this,” Susana told the Sun-Sentinel. “If I can share what I’ve gone through, people would think twice before getting this procedure that may not be necessary.”