Christina Lynn Brajcic, a 42-year-old woman who has died after years of recurring infections linked to her transvaginal mesh implant, has died from severe complications. According to news reports, Brajcic was an outspoken critic of the medical device, which has come under fire for causing life-changing side effects from chronic pain and inability to have sexual intercourse with permanent nerve damage.
Brajcic said she got the vaginal mesh implant at the recommendation of doctors when she suffered from urinary incontinence after childbirth. The procedure involves inserting plastic netting much like a hammock to shore up the muscles and organs of the pelvis. Brajcic said her surgery quickly turned into a nightmare. She said her implant became painful “like barbed wire” in her abdomen. Her body rejected the mesh, she said, causing repeated infections.
Brajcic, who is from Windsor, Canada, ended up devoting the last years of her life to advocating for women injured by these dangerous and defective devices. She petitioned regulators to take mesh off the market until more long-term studies can prove they are safe. She also wrote that she had a near-death experience last month convinced her to never stop fighting.
Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits
Brajcic’s death has brought new focus to the horrific side effects some women endure. Often, they are permanent issues and damage to their bodies that cannot be reversed. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed around the country saying that these mesh implants can cause blinding pain, bleeding, organ erosion and perforation.
And once pelvic tissue has grown around the mesh, these devices can be impossible to remove. Earlier this year, a jury awarded $57 million to a Philadelphia woman after a mesh device manufactured by Johnson & Johnson “mangled” her urethra. Doctors could not get all the bits and pieces of the device out even after repeated surgeries.
Patients Not Warned
The problem is that the global medical community still looks to mesh implants as a treatment for incontinence. However, statistics show that there is the potential for serious complications, particularly when the procedure is overused and doctors are not properly trained. What’s worse is patients are not adequately informed about the risks of receiving this device. On the other hand, the procedures are described with enticing words such as “minimally invasive” giving patients the impression that no harm could come out of it. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration reclassified pelvic mesh as a “high risk” product confirming that complications are not rare.
And yet, patients get practically no information about the risks involved with this surgery. We hope Brajcic’s life, advocacy and death serve as a reminder about the dangers of pelvic mesh products.