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Report on surgical mesh injuries received

Report on surgical mesh injuries received

A restorative justice report on New Zealand women and men affected by surgical mesh has been received by the Ministry of Health.

Report on surgical mesh injuries received

The report summarises the themes that emerged from a restorative process to hear from those who have been injured by the mesh.

It was commissioned by the Ministry of Health and undertaken by Victoria University.

The process saw 600 mesh-injured people share their stories through forums or an online database, and also heard from health professionals as well as friends and families of those affected.

The report outlines the severity of the harm and the impact on the lives of those who have experienced complications from surgical mesh.

NZ Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter said the report made for “heart-breaking and confronting reading”.

“People have talked about losing the life they had enjoyed before surgical mesh harmed them – the loss of a steady job, the ability to exercise, a loving relationship in some cases. Others described the chronic pain they experienced,” she said.

“The report highlights what people want to see happen now. People want better acknowledgement of their injuries, bolstered advocacy and psychosocial support.”

Genter said some of the report’s recommendations “are already underway”, and the Ministry of Health is looking at how to “implement other changes recommended in the report”.

She said the government has already brought in a District Health Boardled registry, and has restricted surgical mesh for Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Stress Urinary Incontinence.

Surgical mesh implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating the two conditions, which can commonly occur after childbirth. 

However, in recent years, women around the world began experiencing severe complications, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex.

In November, women in Australia won a landmark class action against Johnson & Johnson, with the Federal Court ruling in favour of hundreds who suffered pain from the vaginal mesh implant.

The case was launched on behalf of 700 women who had the mesh and tape products implanted to treat common childbirth complications.

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