“The pain is so bad that I sometimes go to sleep crying,” Rose Lucero told CBS4 News. “The pain is so bad that I stay up until 5 a.m. trying to let the pain just go away.”
In 2008, Rose was implanted with a transvaginal mesh device to treat urinary incontinence. Three years later the pain came. It started in her back and grew progressively worse. Then it spread down her legs and into her feet, making simple chores practically impossible. “I have no life. I can’t do anything without being in pain,” she said.
Rose is one of thousands of women who have received transvaginal mesh to repair common pelvic floor disorders including stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The mesh is inserted vaginally to hold up organs that have dropped due to age, weight gain or childbirth. The surgery has been used repeatedly over the past decade, but now physicians are beginning to question the safety of the devices.
Between 2008 and 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received 2,874 complaints related to the devices, which led to the agency issuing two separate warnings in that time complications with transvaginal mesh were not uncommon. In some cases the mesh can erode into the body’s tissues, causing pain, incontinence and infections. Many women have had to undergo repeated surgeries to remove the mesh. In some cases, complications were fatal.
Manufacturers of transvaginal mesh are now facing thousands of lawsuits from women like Rose who claim they have been seriously injured by the devices. Last year a Georgia woman was awarded $2 million, and in February another patient was awarded $11 million. Several other lawsuits have been consolidated into multi-district litigation.
Rose, however, can only sit in pain and wait for her court date. She hopes she can recover enough money to have surgery to have her mesh removed and, hopefully, regain a pain-free life.