Hernia Mesh & Dealing with Loss

On June 1st 2014, I posted a story about a young mother who had died in 2013 after hernia mesh was used in her body. Her aunt sent me the story of what had happened to her because they wanted her story out in the world so that others knew what can happen after mesh is used in the body. Both Sarah’s mother and aunt are in my Facebook friends and last year when it came to the anniversary of the young woman’s death, I could see the anguish in her mother’s posts. It was quite heartbreaking. I cannot imagine what this loss is like, but I can empathize.

Mesh both hernia and pelvic have been touted as the gold standard treatment for surgery. But even though there have been warnings put out by the FDA, and deaths associated with complications from using these implants, these products are not used sparingly for emergency situations. They are used, often without any consideration for the infections that derive from the bacteria that forms inside mesh. I often wonder how many deaths are truly associated with these products but I have no doubt that on a death certificate, it does not state the mesh complications and in fact would only state the cancer.

For many, many years mesh has been on the market long before the Internet was born. Yet in all those years with so many adverse effects of these products, they are used like wallpaper during surgeries without consideration to what will happen over time. I spent a good deal of time trying to search for a record of actual deaths associated with mesh complications, but no one has actually put a data base together where the public can leave a report and tell their story, therefore so much of it is shoved under a rug. How can you change this?

Please, please report the mesh complications of either yours or someone you love to the governmental agency in your country. In the U.S. you need to do it direct to the FDA. If you don’t your life or someone you loved life will not be counted. It does not matter how long it has been since the death or complications happened, please do it now. I wrote a blog about this not long ago and this will take you to that link

To learn all about types of hernia mesh that have been produced over the years, I found a really good article and you can read up on it here

Now you can read an update about Sarah. It was very hard for her mother Jean to write the following update, but I asked her to because the loss of Sarah is part of raising awareness about these products. Her life meant a great deal to her family and she lives on through her children.

“Hi Linda here is our story since Sarah has passed. Sarah passed away Aug 30, 2013 and I would have never thought this would happen to her, Sarah’s 4 children were 10, 8 and the baby was not quite 3 years old when she passed. Their names are Meah, Riley, JJ and Jack, the girls are twins who will be 13 in Sept, JJ will be 11 in June and Jack was 5 in Nov. The children now live with their dads and my husband and I live in NC and enjoy time with them often.

It was too hard for me to stay in NY since her loss, because we had always helped Sarah with the raising of her children, the children now come to visit us for Easter vacation. During the summer the twins come for the whole summer and the boys for a few weeks. JJ, Sarah’s 10 year old, visits us often and at least once a month he is crying so hard it is hard for him to talk because he misses his mommy so much. It breaks my heart when he cries because he was a mommy’s boy. Jack who is 5 has asked me if mommy is coming back and if he can go to see her.

Meah and Riley, the twins have never showed any emotion in front of us. The two of them are so beautiful and look just like Sarah. They don’t say a lot, but they do wear some of the clothes that were their moms and they put messages on Instagram that I see. Yesterday Riley put a picture of Sarah’s stone from the cemetery and wrote, “When the world caves in, your mom should be the one who saves you. May 18-1982 – August 30th 2013. You would be 34 on May 18 if you were here still, rest in peace and I love you so much. I hope your life is better up in heaven.”

The things the twins write breaks my heart. To this day I can’t sleep very well at night. I try not to think of those last few hours of her in the hospital, but I spend almost every night in tears holding her baby blanket she held onto every night before she died. Justin, Sarah’s brother has a very hard time dealing with the loss of his sister. I had to stopping working for a while because he is so angry that things turned out this way all because of MESH. MY husband has a hard time even talking about her. When he comes across cards she send him on Father’s Day and birthdays, he just holds them tight and says nothing. As I close writing about this, the tears are coming down and I hope this all makes sense. I hope and I pray it does.  Mesh puts everyone through HELL. GOD BLESS” Read Sarah’s full story here

To understand the type of cancer Sarah had you can read about it here

I also wanted to let you know about another man’s plight to help his wife in Canada, who is suffering because of mesh. He does not know where to turn to help his wife and he feels so alone. You can read what he wrote about his wife here

I am often asked when mesh came on the market. I found this.

“Artificial synthetic mesh was first introduced by Usher in 1958 [5], and it is widely used in general surgical practice because of its favorable biocompatibility and mechanical stability. As a nondegradable material, prosthetic mesh, such as Marlex mesh, is associated with a series of postoperative adverse effects, including persistent pain, hematoma, wound erosion, infection and herniation, and even enterocutaneous fistula [1,32,33]. McKenna et al. [34] reported an approximately 25% infection rate associated with Marlex mesh implantation. Serious cases normally require a second-look surgery to remove the infectious prosthesis [34]. ” Here is that link


  1. PeggyC

    Thank you so much for doing this for my niece Sarah. It breaks my heart seeing the pictures and messages Sarah’s twin put on Instagram regarding their mother. Her son JJ misses his mother so much and has had to adjust to so many changes. Sarah never had the opportunity to be a mother to her son Jack. She was sick and in the hospital for the majority of the time from his birth to her death. He talks about his mother. It has been especially hard for my sister, not understanding why this had to happen. My brother-in-law keeps his feelings inside but when you talk about Sarah you can see the tears roll down his face. A parent should not have to bury their child. It may have been a “little” easier to understand if it had been the cancer that took her life, but hernia mesh. She suffered so much with it and once said to me “I would rather have cancer and go through the treatments than go through this”. RIP our beautiful angel.

  2. Penny pinkham

    I had my first surgery in 2009 , I had an abdominal mass removed and Bovine mesh was used to fill the the space the mass had left. I was so afraid I was going to die with the pain and the worst part was No Dr. Would help me !they said it is so bad they would not touch it. I was finally to the point were I gave up looking for help. I was sick & I never knew how much until I finally was on a Mesh blog and I was told you can call this Dr . He is doing amazing research and is amazing. ( Dr. Bruce Ramshaw ) He was booked six to 12 months in advance after he reviewed my chart I was in surgery 3 mths later. I had no idea what to expect the first surgery was so hard as far as recovery. I remember meeting Dr Ramshaw for the first time when I heard how much was really wrong with me! That was tough ! I am only 53 yr’s young and I remember the night before my surgery saying good bye to my family knowing this was going to be bad! I never looked back I knew I had to get through this! I had a later surgery time and was prepared for that then I get a call at 4 am they asked me to come on in ASAP. So I had no time ton be scared! The only thing I asked my surgeon was would he please save me a piece of the Mesh that was causing so much pain! My surgery was over 8 hrs and I no longer have a belly button ( a funny thing to miss) the first thing I remember is him saying I couldn’t get any piece of mesh it was so embedded in my abdominal cavity and the rest he said was like soup it was so infected and damaged tissue. He said you might be in ICU for a few days ( I went home on the 4 th day. I was up and out of bed that night ( stood more like it). I was alive praise God! The technique he used I really did not feel my abdominal muscles at all. So not what I had gone through before. My Dr was so happy the next day I was out of bed and walking 2 steps, then 4 steps! I think I felt better than I have sense 2009 I mean I was not sick anymore! My prayer and message to all of you is Hope! I now live with purpose and a story to tell! To Sarah’s family my prayers are with you and my family does not take for granit that I could have been Sarah!

    1. Linda (Post author)

      Penny I am thankful you made it through this and you are still alive to spread the word. That is why these blogs are so important.


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