“This is insane. To almost be on your death bed (sic) at only 42 because of mesh. It’s not right.”
These are the words that Ontario, Canada resident Christina Brajcic typed from her hospital bed in a Facebook post on October 29th, 2017. The wife and mother of two was gone just one month later. And many believe that sepsis incurred as a complication from her Johnson & Johnson mesh device was the ultimate cause.
Mrs. Brajcic’s battle began when she had a midurethral sling implanted in 2013 after giving birth. Designed to support and reposition internal organs in women who have had children, the mesh became an almost immediate issue for her. As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, she began experiencing severe pain almost immediately. And, when she went to her doctor with her concerns, she was told that it was simply the mesh settling and to give it time.
After continued pain and other issues, her mesh was eventually removed. However, as is the case with many mesh removals, the procedure led to complications. Mrs. Brajcic would spend the next four years in and out of hospitals, confined to a wheelchair, and on a cocktail of various antibiotics, pain medications, and drugs to control her nausea.
During this time, however, Mrs. Brajcic became incredibly active and a leader in the mesh community working to call attention to the devices, the companies that make them, and the lack of government action to protect women from them. “I feel neglected by the medical system,” she reflected in one post. “That we have to fight so hard to get even an ounce of help is just not right.”
The loss of Mrs. Brajcic reverberated throughout the global mesh community. One Australian mesh campaigner wrote that “everyone in the mesh world knew her. No one can believe she’s gone. She helped all of us and now she’s dead. It’s just so shocking. She was so unwell but now it’s happened. It’s really happened.”
Women who are experiencing pain and difficulty with their pelvic meshes should know that their medical professionals should take those concerns seriously and not allow themselves to be dismissed. The history of pelvic mesh lawsuits, the hundreds of millions of dollars awarded to victims of these devices, the testimony of medical professionals as to the difficulty of removing them, and the losses endured by the families of the injured are all too great to simply accept these complications and move on without having their voices heard.