Sarah A Life Lost to Mesh
This is the saddest blog I have to write of all because a young mother with four young children passed away all too soon. It makes me sad to share her story and yet it brings to light how mesh can change a person’s life and sometimes lead to death. The reason is simple. Mesh should never be used on anyone with an immune disorder due to cancer in her past. Let alone the amount of mesh used would have compromised even the healthiest of women. I want you all to know this can happen to woman but by her family sharing it, her life will not be in vain.
This is Sarah’s struggle before her life ended as written by her loving aunt.
The last three months of Sarah’s pregnancy she was in excruciating pain. She kept telling the doctors, their response was that it was pregnancy related. She insisted that they do an ultrasound and that’s when they saw the tumor which was pressing up against the baby’s head.
On November 20, 2010 Sarah had an emergency C-section and delivered a healthy baby boy. During the c-section a large tumor was discovered in her stomach. The tumor was diagnosed as Burkitt’s lymphoma. Sarah went through several chemotherapy treatments which required her to be in and out of the hospital away from her 4 children, she was 29 years old. She was diagnosed as being cancer free.
The summer of 2011 Sarah had recovered from the cancer treatment went on vacation with her kids and did all the things a mother would do with her children.
On October 23, 2011 Sarah had a hysterectomy and abdominal repair. She developed an incisional hernia and had complex abdominal reconstruction. Ethicon Ultra Pro-Mesh was used. A resection was performed and she had repair of her abdominal wall with component separation, retrorectus placement of prosthetic mesh as well as onlay placement. Wound healing problems with purulent drainage from her abdomen. A 30 x 30 cm Ultrapro mesh was placed in the retrorectus space. The area where the tumor had been excised was a large anterior rectus sheath defect. In order to reconstruct normal abdominal wall anatomy another piece of 15 x 15 Ultra pro was used as an overlay to connect the anterior rectus sheath together.
On March 15, 2012 Infected abdominal wound with infected mesh following repair of abdominal hernia. Removal of onlay mesh and retrorectus mesh. Mesh was seen exposed in her wound which had a marked amount of gross purulence. Below are notes from the Doctor.
“This is a 29 year old woman with a complex history. She had Burkitt’s lymphoma a few years ago and ultimately had abdominal mainifestations with tumor in her abdominal wall. A resection was performed and she had repair of her abdominal wall with component separation, retrorectus placement of prosethic mesh as well as onlay placement. She has had wound healing problems off and on with this treatment and ultimately has developed exposed mesh with ongoing purulent drainage from her abdomen. She presented to our office to assist in wound healing. Mesh was seen exposed in her wound which was noted to have a marked amount of gross purulence. She was scheduled for surgery today (3/13/2012) for debridement…..”
On June 8, 2012 was admitted to the hospital because she noticed an increase in drainage from the wound that was yellow in color, bubbly and now bile green and foul smelling with some increased consistency. It was determined that she had fistulas of the intestine. She has put on TPN to rest the bowels. She has severe malnutrition. Current wound care is dry dressing changes. The dressings have to be changed every two hours – the dressings are soaked along with towels and bedding.
On Sept 7,2012 Sarah is admitted to the hospital because she is unable to urinate and the there is a foul smell coming from the wound. It is determined that Sarah has a urethral fistula.
As of today Sarah is not able to get out of bed by herself. Her mother has to get her up, bathe and dress her. The Doctors are at a loss as to what to do next. Her weight is currently 104 lbs.
Update: In October 2012 Sarah went to Roswell Hospital to speak with one of the doctors. On October 24th she had the first skin graft done on her stomach. The top half of the graft was successful the bottom was not because of urine leaking into her stomach. They have performed another skin graft. She know has muscle coming through the groin because of all of the drainage from her stomach.
Sarah was released from Roswell Hospital in May 2013. The doctor sent her home to spend time with her children before they did anymore skin grafts. She passed away August 30, 2013.
Her family did a memorial tribute to her and you can see it here
I can’t change what happened to Sarah and neither can her family, but they wanted to share her story so that other women will understand the dangers of mesh. I thank all of them very much and they should know every blog I write will help another woman live. Her loss will be others gain because her family have not stayed quiet.