I’m sure those of you who are implanted with pelvic mesh are fully aware of the ruling against Johnson and Johnson in the Shine Class Action last Thursday 21st November. I don’t want this message to be a repeat of the news stories that have already clearly explained the long 7 year wait for this outcome. Just search the internet for “Johnson and Johnson class action” and you will find articles taking up at least 6 pages of Google.
If you are not caught up on the news, here’s a link to the ABC story.
I need to clarify the ABC’s story as there is a paragraph that is misleading. It states ” She (Justice Anna Katzmann) said the devices, which were banned in 2017…”. These devices that Justice Anna Katzmann is referring to in this particular statement does not represent all of the Johnson and Johnson mesh devices. The devices that have been removed in 2017-2018 are the prolapse mesh kits that were implanted transvaginally and the single incision Mini sling.
Here is a table of the Johnson and Johnson devices that remain on the market today…
There are other pelvic mesh devices that are still on the market and they include prolapse meshes that are implanted via the abdomen, as well as other manufacturer brands of midurethral slings that are implanted transvaginally. Midurethral slings are otherwise known as TVT, TVT-O and TOT. Common names that surgeons like to deceive women with are, sling, tape or ribbon so that women don’t know they are actually about to be implanted with mesh. Dirty tactics hey!
Folks, we have all been deceived right throughout the senate inquiry. The government has been deceived. The media have been deceived and the women suffering have been deceived. Who has deceived us all? The TGA and RANZCOG, and the surgeons who run both establishments. With regards to pelvic mesh devices, the TGA is led and instructed by RANZCOG. The TGA responds to RANZCOG’s decisions. I know this. I was told this at the TGA meeting that I went to in Canberra back in 2016. Who runs RANZCOG? The Urogynaecological surgeons that insist on continuing to implant pelvic mesh devices into the vaginas of our precious women of Australia.
How have we been deceived? Well, during the senate inquiry, the TGA and RANZCOG surgeons focussed so much on the transvaginally implanted PROLAPSE mesh devices and they all agreed that these devices need to be removed from market and that they need to stop implanting them in women, that the midurethral sling which also causes significant damage to the woman’s body, got overlooked. The surgeons all got on board with the mesh clinics and the mesh committees, looking like they were doing their job. But they weren’t doing their job to protect women. What they WERE doing was making damn sure that their precious midurethral slings didn’t disappear off the market along with the prolapse meshes. As stated, these slings which are also known as TVT, TVT-O, & TOT are still being implanted by surgeons at the mesh clinics around Australia to this day.
The TGA have released a statement yesterday 26th November which you can read here
Nowhere in this statement does the TGA say that they will be removing the Johnson and Johnson mesh devices that were found to be defective and not fit for purpose by a court of law. Do you want to know why? Because the surgeons want the TGA and women of Australia to continue to believe that the midurethral sling is safe and effective and the risks are a mere 1%. By “risks” they mean possible loss of organs, nerve damage, infections, never having sex again, loss of being able to be the mother in the capacity that our children need, loss of being a wife in the capacity that our husbands need, loss of jobs, loss of extra income that helped to support that huge mortgage, loss of the old self; the self who loved to hike and dance and walk without pain, loss of mental stability; increase of anxiety and depression and suicidal thoughts. Wow, what a sacrifice to make, just to stop peeing our pants when we sneeze or jump or run.
These surgeons have invested two decades of their time learning from the manufacturers about the benefits of pelvic mesh devices because they can make so much more money in one day, than they could from the “old fashioned” native tissue repair. Why would they want to give that up! Most don’t even know how to do native tissue repair anymore. No-one is teaching them. The mesh implants are a quick 45 minute operation as opposed to a 4 hour native tissue repair operation; the hospital stay for a mesh implant is one day as opposed to 4 days with the native tissue repair; sometimes a patient can even go home on the same day after a mesh implant. Hospitals also love this device; saves theatre time and bed space.
So, What’s next?
I am not talking about what’s next as in payouts for the women. That moment will come in February next year when Justice Anna Katzmann will award damages. I am talking about what’s next for the obligations and responsibilities of the TGA, RANZCOG and our Minister for Health Greg Hunt?
What’s next, is that the TGA MUST remove ALL Johnson and Johnson mesh devices from market effective immediately. The proof is out there now, although I have to say that all of the injured women who presented their accounts of their destroyed lives at the senate inquiry should have been proof enough. The judge has stated in a court of law (meaning her judgment upholds the law), that all of these devices are defective and not fit for purpose. Minister Greg Hunt must hold the TGA and RANZCOG to account.
If Minister Greg Hunt, the TGA and RANZCOG continue to allow the implantation of pelvic mesh devices into women, they are all complicit from this day forward in the risk of putting women’s lives and health in danger.
This will be a human rights violation and the Human Rights Commission must step in and stop the madness.