I met Joanne McCarthy when I flew to Canberra in May of 2016. I started really campaigning for mesh injured women at the beginning of 2016. Prior to that my focus was on trying to find a way to get reimbursement of my USA expenses when I flew to St Louis for mesh removal with Dr Veronikis, with no such luck. The opportunity to meet Joanne came about after I wrote to the Minister for Health and I received an email from the TGA offering to have a meeting with them.
Joanne McCarthy is an incredible investigative journalist. She has been on the mesh case for more than 4 years. In 2016 I had read a few of her articles and I sent her a few emails about the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group and the many injured women who were joining at a steady pace. We “met” over the phone and talked and talked. She connected with more mesh injured women over the months and years and her articles were coming out fast and furious.
She won the Walkleys award in 2017 for Public Service Journalism. “Her investigation spanned three years (as at 2017) and more than 80 articles. It provided a local view of a global catastrophe, as sensitive to victims as it was unflinching in exposing negligence.” The Walkleys website sums up her reporting as “dogged”.
When I arrived in Canberra, I met 3 other mesh injured women who were also as determined as I was about meeting with the TGA to demand changes to the regulatory system and in particular, to ban mesh. I contacted Joanne when we were settled in to our AirBnB accommodation and she said “I would love to come and meet you all”. She drove up from Newcastle for the day and the 5 of us went out for lunch. It was like meeting up with an old friend. She has a compassionate and empathetic heart and she was as angry as we all were about women’s lives being destroyed by this evil called pelvic mesh.
I am so grateful to Joanne because without her, our stories would not have been heard. She brought this to the attention of the nation through her articles, and even after months and months of myself and others contacting many media outlets and continually being ignored, Joanne stood by us and investigated surgeons, the TGA, the beginning of the mesh disaster and the many ruined lives of women implanted with mesh.
You can read her many articles here
Thank you Joanne McCarthy for everything you do. You are one amazing, tenacious, determined woman.