Other Countries Address Mesh Problems While the U.S. Stays Silent
Within one month, both the Australian and Scottish governments have offered their apologies to women who have been terribly harmed by transvaginal mesh (TVM). They acknowledged that they have “sympathy” for these women who are now facing immense pain and that “your voice has been heard, and not just heard but acted upon."
And what does the U.S. government have to say to the hundreds of thousands of American women who have this dangerous medical device? NOTHING. It has either been halted or banned throughout the world, but it is still legal and commonly used in the U.S.
What Should the U.S. Government Do to Protect Women from Mesh?
The UK, Scotland, and Australia have all make great strides in eliminating the use of vaginal mesh and the U.S. could easily follow their lead.
Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt not only voiced his apology but stated that Australia’s government would work with states and territories to set up a voluntary national register. This would be a tool for women where they could report any health complications that resulted from their mesh implant. Additionally, the government has offered to pay for the removal and treatment of pelvic mesh and strongly encouraged states and territories to create an audit of pelvic mesh.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland is enacting, “a temporary halt for all mesh procedures, and that will be lifted only when a new restricted use protocol is put in place… That will ensure that procedures are only carried out in future in the most exceptional of circumstances and subject to a very robust process of approval and fully informed consent.”
Another flaw in America’s treatment of mesh is that instead of refining our FDA approval process, the FDA is attempting to shorten the 510(K) process to get more medical devices to market sooner. Vaginal mesh was originally approved for market because it was a device similar to what was used to help hernia patients. However, the tissue in the vagina is much thinner which allows the mesh to puncture the tissue and migrate. The vagina also has bacteria that pose a greater risk for infection than the abdomen.
During this election season, it’s time for political officials to listen to the millions of American women who want to protect our bodies from harmful medication devices and who want to amplify the voices of women who have been injured. If Scotland, the UK, and Australia can make a change for what’s right, then surely we can, too.