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Are these Britain's most sexist surgeons? Offensive comments made to mesh surgery victims

Carole Davies and her partner, Malcolm, looked at each other in shocked silent horror as her surgeon spoke to them. 

Carole, 76, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, had endured weeks of agony after an NHS surgeon had inserted a polypropylene mesh implant to treat a slight incontinence problem. The mesh was meant to act as a scaffold to support her leaking bladder.

Carole, then 60 and a recently retired personnel administrator, had returned to see the surgeon with her partner seven weeks after the surgery. She was in tears as she explained her debilitating pain.

'I told the surgeon that I could feel the mesh cutting into me, which was agonising,' Carole told Good Health.

'But he ignored this and said everything was OK. He told me: 'I just don't understand how you could be in pain. I will refer you to a psychiatrist.' Then he turned to Malcolm and said: 'I've made her nice and tight for you.' '

It was lewd and inappropriate but, as we can reveal, is shockingly by no means an isolated example — an insult, literally, not just to Carole but for many others, among the tens of thousands of British women who have suffered agonising complications from mesh-tape operations since they were first introduced in the late 1990s to treat incontinence or prolapse.

To add insult to injury, these women often struggled for years to have their complaints taken seriously, while surgeons dismissed the idea that there was anything wrong.

The Mail joined forces with campaigning group Sling The Mesh to highlight the issue, the Government set up an inquiry, led by Baroness Cumberlege, in July 2018.

This led initially to a pause in the use of surgical mesh for the treatment of urinary incontinence. The inquiry has since called for this pause to be extended until strict requirements on safety and recompense are met.

Nevertheless, an investigation by Good Health last month found that not only is mesh still being surgically implanted in women, but also that its use could well be on the rise again.

Sling The Mesh has received dozens of messages from women detailing similarly appalling responses, the majority in the past five years, that surgeons had made to deny, belittle and denigrate their agonising pain, emotional trauma and — in some cases — ruined sex lives.

You can read all the messages on the hub's community thread.

Read full story

Source: Mail Online, 18 July 2022

Further reading

Doctors’ shocking comments reveal institutional misogyny towards women harmed by pelvic mesh - a Patient Safety Learning blog


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