Texan Raises Concern Over Popular Medical Device

Texan Raises Concern Over Popular Medical DeviceAfter Hal Samples underwent a procedure in which a piece of plastic mesh was implanted in his abdomen to help correct a hernia, years later the Dallas, Texas artist says the pain of the procedure still lingers, ABC affiliate WFAA reports.

"It can be a bend-over pain, where it will be a sharp stab," Samples said of the pain he feels daily.

Surgical mesh, which was used to treat Samples' hernia, is a synthetic material used in medical procedures. The device is manufactured by several companies around the country, and is commonly used to correct hernia, pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence. In 2010, about 67,000 women received the product for bladder-related reasons, according to advocacy group Public Citizen.

But growing concern over the devices has caused the Food and Drug Administration and Public Citizen to speak out against the use of surgical mesh.

In the last six years, the FDA has reported complaints from hundreds of people claiming permanent injuries occurred after having surgical mesh implanted, leading the agency to issue a warning in 2011 about the allegedly adverse reactions associated with the device.

According to the FDA, all hernia patients should ask their surgeon about the pros and cons of surgical mesh, as thousands of hernia repair operations occur each year without the use of the material, and result in patients recovering quickly and fully.

Dr. Brian Feagins, a Texas Health Dallas urologist, says that while the mesh is a good product when administered properly, many doctors may see it as an easy, quick-fix for bladder and hernia conditions from which they can profit.

"Because this is so easy, at least on an outward appearance, I think there are a lot of physicians that maybe otherwise wouldn't be doing these operations, [are] doing them," Feagins said. "And that may be where part of the problem comes in."

Samples told the news provider that prior to receiving the treatment, he was never consulted about the possible adverse effects of having the product implanted in his gut. Since the procedure, he has spent thousands of dollars in medical bills while trying to convince doctors the pain he was feeling was real.

After learning about one doctor who specialized in removing the allegedly painful mesh, Samples made the trip out to Las Vegas to receive the treatment from Dr. Kevin Peterson.

Peterson, who performs surgeries most other doctors steer clear of, told the news source he has seen several patients that suffered with severe pains for years. Many times, he says, they seek treatment from multiple doctors, surgeons, pain specialists and even psychiatrists, only to find medical health professionals allegedly reluctant to acknowledge any problem.

The doctor also believes patients should be better warned about the dangers of such medical devices.

"My interest is to help illuminate that this is a problem that is generally by the medical community, denied," he stated. "I think that patients should be advised [of] the risks of developing severe, chronic pain when mesh is used to repair hernia. I also think that patients should be advised that there are alternatives to using mesh."

Samples' mesh has since been removed, after Peterson found that the mesh had joined to his abdominal wall, wrapping tightly around the blood supply to his groin. Now, Samples supports Public Citizen's demand for an immediate recall of the potentially defective medical device.

"The journey that I've been on in search to get help has fractured my belief in the system," he said. "And I know that I'm not alone. That there's a couple million people that have the same device. They may not speak out."