A new documentary film currently in production will feature a number of women from the U.S., Canada, and other countries whose bodies, and subsequently their lives, were devastated after being implanted with transvaginal mesh products designed to correct pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and other conditions affecting the position of the pelvic organs.
The documentary, called Enmeshed, is a collaboration between Philip Courter of Courter Films and Jane Akre, editor of the Mesh Medical Device News Desk, a watchdog group that monitors the medical mesh industry and the ways in which transvaginal mesh devices, hernia patches, and other polypropylene mesh products have adversely impacted patients’ lives.
“Did they understand that mesh was unstable, that it could break apart, that it could migrate?” asks one injured transvaginal mesh victim interviewed in Enmeshed. “Just the idea of something put in your body, moving around, is crazy. It’s breaking off, and if you think of mesh like barbed wire or something … that’s what it is.”
Once completed, the film Enmeshed will likely have wide appeal. More than 40,000 lawsuits alleging transvaginal mesh injuries and even death are pending against mesh manufacturers in six multidistrict litigations (MDLs). In addition to those cases, thousands more are being tried in state courts, and approximately 3,000 new lawsuits are filed each month.
Jane Akre told Corporate Crime Reporter that “at least 500,000” women have been implanted with transvaginal mesh around the world, so it’s no surprise that lawsuits continue to pile up in the U.S. and abroad.
In July 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its 2008 alert warning doctors and patients about the potential risks of transvaginal mesh. The latest advisory warned that about 10 percent of women implanted with transvaginal mesh experienced mesh erosion within one year of surgery.
The most frequent complications reported include mesh erosion, intense pain, infection, bleeding, pain during intercourse, organ perforation, and urinary problems. There were also reports of recurrent prolapse, neuro-muscular problems, vaginal scarring or shrinkage, and emotional problems.
In addition to reports of physical injuries, there have been reports of ruined relationships, ruined careers, and even suicide as a way to escape what some women have described as an unrelenting, inconsolable pain.
“You have a generation of women who are hideously mutilated and don’t know what to do,” Ms. Akre told Corporate Crime Reporter.