UPDATE: Australian Pelvic Mesh – Carolyn Chisholm

UPDATE: Carolyn (Caz) Chisholm, of Perth Australia, started a search three years ago to find a surgeon and a hospital to sponsor a visit by Dr. Dionysios Veronikis (St. Louis, Missouri) to Australia because is skilled in the removal of pelvic mesh devices from women that no Australian surgeon can. Today, women must travel to the United States to have pelvic mesh removed in its entirety. Veronikis invented equipment to reach deep into the pelvis to retrieve mesh that no Aussie surgeons can reach. He’s removed more than 2000 meshes.

Larger prolapse meshes are very complicated and dangerous to remove, and it takes a special surgeon to remove them. Dr. Veronikis designed and patented specialized pelvic mesh removal equipment and instruments, which no other surgeon in the world has.

Recently, Caz left her leadership role in the Australian pelvic support group to devote her time and efforts to finding a surgeon and a hospital to sponsor a visit from Dr. Veronikis in the hopes that he would teach Aussie surgeons safe mesh removal techniques.

Like anti-mesh advocates across the globe, Aussie’s leaders do not like mesh or support mesh. They do not believe in partial removals and encourage full removal wherever possible to minimize the trauma to women. They want Australia to have the same removal possibilities that the U.S. does.

“This is a huge undertaking, and it involves a hell of a lot of work from numerous people including mesh-injured women themselves. Unfortunately, the RANZCOG (Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) stand by their statement that a partial removal is an acceptable form of treatment. They refuse to get on board with full removal procedures  [even though] when pain occurs the only way is to remove all of the mesh,” wrote Chisholm.

Aussie injured women do not agree with RANZCOG’s and Professor Vancaille’s position about partial removal because “every single woman who has had this procedure ends up with more complications, [goes] back into hospital for more surgery, and often ends up with infections that don’t go away and [long-term] antibiotics.”

Aussie activists also try to help mesh injured women find pain specialists, accurate diagnoses, psychological help, and referrals to competent mesh removal surgeons—even if it means traveling half-way across the world.

Caz distinguishes between mesh used to treat prolapse and that used to treat urinary incontinence. Prolapse mesh is considered “high risk” by FDA officials but the SUI meshes are treated as the “gold standard.” There are no long-term studies proving the use of mesh is safe or efficacious. “RANZCOG states the clinical trials still need to be done for the SUI meshes; so this means that women are still guinea pigs,” wrote Chisholm.

She says women are being implanted with mesh unnecessarily and afterward, their GP’s don’t know how to treat them, and gynecologists deny care by saying their new problems are not related to mesh (duplicating the actions of doctors in the U.S. and all other countries). “These surgeons don’t want to know anything about the complications that their implants have caused women. In fact, I have read stories about surgeons being rude to the women, some shout at them, some get angry with them, simply because the woman is presenting with pain and complications. They are turning their backs on the women.

“It is diabolical what is happening. This is why we need to set up clinics Australia wide and find ethical and empathetic surgeons who want to be trained in full removal and to find the right medical professionals that really want to listen to these women, to believe them and not turn them away. It is a very specialised issue and needs to be addressed immediately,” the determined activist added.

Caz Chisholm won two awards for her advocacy work.

 

Caz Chisholm winning two awards for her advocacy work.

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Peggy Day is working on a book to combine all these stories. This is an excerpt from Pelvis in Flames: Your Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Your input is welcome to help make Pelvis in Flames the book you need to read.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, join my group, Surgical Mesh or check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to PelvicMeshOwnersGuide.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at [email protected]..

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19 responses to “UPDATE: Australian Pelvic Mesh – Carolyn Chisholm

  1. Please can you contact me. My name is PETA Nottle . I was a infection Control Nurse at Wanneroo Hospital in 1989
    . I had to leave a role I just loved so much due to a gynaecologist who developed this procedure and was trailing it at Waneroo Hospital in 1989 . I actually suffered very much being bullied as My findings had this gynaecologist clinical privileges withdrawn And certain persons had an interest in the procedure who were in senior positions then . I still feel pain when I think of the women who have been broken by this operation. I would love to talk to you.Please not out of any other place but for my care of the woman who have been broken. As the Dr left and was allowed to practise else’s where. I am 70 years old now. And need to see justice for my sisters and their families. A Gynacologist contacted me back in 2004/5 when I was on my way to Balgo Hills . I remember being in Alice Springs and asked me if I would be prepared to be a witness. I said yes , but before I could discuss , the phone I had at the time went dead and I lost his phone number. I still feel guilty about not following it through.

  2. Good morning Caroline , After writing above last night , I went to find my diary from 1989 in which notes have been made about what happened and was said by the. Dr involved and myself. I have kept it all these years as I forsaw back then that one day this would become perhaps one of the biggest damages ever done to women in Australian Medical History.
    I am very happy to share these with you for The Senate Inquiry being held. I think next week .Women should not have to pay for the operations to have it removed. it should be free of charge and allow healing to occur through Holisistic Support .Body Mind and Spirit by Qualified Holisitc Nurse Healers.
    I would not ever have known about this unless the. Journalist for health for the West Australian published your group photo in the Western A Australian Yesterday.A friend sent it to me in an email. As I do not read The papers.MY phone number is 0408924183
    In Grace Light and Love
    PETA Nottle. RN

    • Hello again, Peta,
      I’m not sure what procedure you had in 1989 because pelvic mesh was introduced in 1996. I’ll contact you by email. Peggy

  3. I had the sparc tvt sling put in Oct 2016 & haven’t been able to sit for to long, can’t exercise, can’t lay on my stomach & can’t fit into my pants cos of my tummy still swollen, still wearing liners 24/7 due to yellow discharge stuff. My specialist said she can only remove 90% in surgery. Would like to know more about dr Veronikis & how to get surgery with him & prices.

    • I’m so sorry you have suffered for so long!
      You can email Dr. Veronikis at [email protected] and describe your problems with mesh in one paragraph (maximum) like you did here. If you’ve had any surgeries, attach a copy of all your operative notes. Allow a week or so and he should reply to you. About prices, if you ask for the code numbers of any procedures he does for you, you can contact the hospital where he operates, Mercy in St. Louis, MO, give them the numbers, and ask the billing department about costs. There is affordable lodging available nearby. If you are traveling from far away, you might consider a GoFundMe plea to your friends, family, fellow parishioners, etc.
      Please let me know how you are doing.

  4. Are IVS tunnellers implanted in 2001 removable in USA? Or too risky?

    • Hi Fiona, Yes, there are surgeons in the U.S. who take the Tunnnelers out. And, yes, it is a very risky procedure. It becomes a personal choice whether or not to take the risk. Feel free to send an email to [email protected].

  5. I had the mid urethral tape done on the 24th May 2017 and I’ve had nothing but trouble. Pain in groin…legs…vagina…now I’ve developed rashes that I’ve never had. I’m an emotional mess and it’s taken its toll on my marriage. .

    • The sooner you find a good surgeon to help you get it out, the faster you’ll heal and the fewer long-term problems you’ll experience. So sorry this happened to you years after the first FDA warnings and 100K lawsuits began. It’s a modern tragedy.

  6. Thank you 💖

  7. Caz Chisholm this is to congratulate you and your group members on your great work. Hope all of the objectives as set out in this article are realised.
    Well done – you are awesome. You are not only helping those who have already had mesh but those who were potential victims of this procedure.

  8. I’ve had 2.5 year ago a femoral hernia repair done where mesh has been used (open surgery). Since 6 months I’m struggling with pelvic pain (pinching pain somewhere in my intimate parts) and gut problems (lots of bowel upset and pressure on my belly/ bladder) which has put me into a depression. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly is causing my pains and was wondering if you’ve heard of more woman with pain complications from femoral hernia repairs and if there are any surgeons here in Australia (Perth preferable) who are willing and capable of removing the mesh. I’m considering at the moment to go and see the surgeon who has done my hernia repair to see if they can do a scan to see where the mesh is positioned in my body but at the same time i’m afraid of his response.

  9. What is the name of a specialist in Sydney I can consult concerning the sling and its long term consequences, six years of pain.
    Thanks
    Diane

    • Unfortunately, the speicalist in Sydney just told a radio interviewer he supports the use of mesh and doesn’t regard full removals as a viable solution. Activist leaders in Australia are working hard to find someone to help. In the meantime, women are flying to the U.S. to see Dr. Veronikis. Peggy

    • Diane, I’ll pass along your question to Caz. I’m in the U.S. Peggy

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