A Pain Down Under: Plight Of Australians With Hernia Mesh Injuries Ignored

Medical Devices

In the United States, over 50,000 hernia mesh lawsuits have been settled to the tune of over $1 billion. But in Australia, where nearly 100,000 people are hospitalized every year with hernias, the number of people who have been injured from defective hernia mesh is unknown. And for those who have suffered debilitating pain because of faulty hernia mesh, it has proved difficult to find a law firm who is willing to take on their case. 

That’s not to say that the land Down Under hasn’t seen any mesh litigation. Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay three women who received faulty mesh implants over $2.5 million. But those implants were for pelvic surgery and not for hernia procedures. The three women were the lead plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against J & J that involves over 1,350 litigants. 

A recent article on an Australian news website chronicles the plight of a few faulty hernia mesh sufferers. The article says that in Australia, there’s a growing number of people who say their hernia mesh plight has been ignored because thus far, the focus continues on the horrific side effects with pelvic mesh implants.

Moreover, those side effects have focused on the plight of women, whereas a survey from last year, from the Australian state of Victoria found that 70 percent out of 183 patients reported major problems with their hernia mesh implants.

One law firm has been investigating a possible class action suit against hernia mesh manufacturers. However, that firm has yet to make a decision on whether to proceed. 

In 2018, an Australian Senate inquiry was conducted, in which it was reported that the number of adverse events relating to mesh injuries are considered to be vastly underreported. The country’s regulatory body that oversees medical devices, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), in the last 14 years, has received over 903 adverse event reports for mesh devices, with almost 200 of those involving non-pelvic surgical mesh, including hernia mesh.  

That may seem a drop in the bucket compared to adverse mesh reports in the U.S. But consider that Australia has less than one-tenth the population of the U.S. 

The good news for Australian consumers is that next month, the TGA will move hernia mesh into a more stringent manufacturing criteria, making it more difficult for hernia mesh products to make it to market. 

Unfortunately, for some people who have received faulty hernia mesh implants, the damage has already been done. One person profiled in the article on the Australian news website describes his experience receiving hernia mesh as “medical torture,” but immediately after insisting having the mesh removed, his well-being has dramatically improved. 

A woman profiled in the article, who received a mesh implant for an umbilical hernia claims she cannot find legal representation to take her case. 

And one man who was one of the first in Australia to have mesh implanted for a hernia reports that he is in pain 24/7 ever since receiving the first operation in 1985. Over the next 17 years and seven hernia operations later, the man claims he can only walk for about 20 to 30 meters before he has to sit down because of the soreness caused by the mesh implant. This particular defective hernia mesh sufferer and untold scores of others are being ignored while Australian law firms focus mostly on faulty pelvic mesh.


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