Open Letter to Insurers Concerning Mesh Injuries

May 19th, 2014 | By | Category: Mesh Reading Room Resource, Take Action
Dollar sign Scott Steiner, WikiCommons

Dollar sign Scott Steiner, WikiCommons

Often readers of Mesh News Desk find it impossible to have their insurance companies understand the importance  of having a referral to a mesh specialist when they are facing a mesh-related complication. Very few doctors actually have the experience to even be able to assess these complications to determine if the mesh needs to be removed. If so, it’s a sensitive and delicate operation that should not be undertaken by anyone but an experienced mesh removal doctor.

As there is more and more awakening to mesh dangers and complications, insurers too need to be brought up to speed.  Initially, many insurance companies steered women to these risky and dangerous procedures.  And according to mesh removal experts, today, insurance companies want to compensate very little to have mesh removed or to send a woman to an experienced removal specialist. The following is a letter a woman can use to address her insurance company when it fails to recognize the seriousness of her complication and refuses to support her decision to seek out one of the few mesh removal experts in the U.S.

Here is a suggested Open Letter to insurers to help them gain some understanding of this mesh mess.

To Whom It May Concern-

I’m writing as a mesh-injured woman who is desperately trying to seek help from a doctor experienced in mesh-related injuries. This might include a urologist or urogynecologist who has experience in removing pelvic mesh that has migrated, eroded, broken apart, perforated organs, folded, frayed and perforated nerves, not to mention the systemic issues such as autoimmune disease that often erupts after being implanted with polypropylene pelvic mesh. 

There are very few competent medical doctors around the country who are dealing with the hundreds of thousands of women who are now experiencing the complications from this mesh. Through the mesh-injured community, we are becoming aware of these doctors.

I am seeking a referral to a doctor who has experience in removing polypropylene mesh from the pelvic region, not just the closest and most cost-effective for the insurance company. This may be a matter of life or death – mine.

As you know this mesh was implanted in me and thousands of others to hold up pelvic organs that may be falling through the vagina. Like thousands of others, it has only caused problems that can be described as life-altering. As I write this, the mesh is migrating toward my bowel, a condition that can lead to fatal sepsis (this is one example, use your own).

There are currently at least 90,000 lawsuits filed against mesh manufacturers for marketing a defective product without any FDA clearance for safety and efficacy. These are not lawsuits generated by hysterical women. The injuries are real and not imagined. In many cases they are permanent.

Juries across the country have determined, after listening to the evidence, that mesh products made by the major manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific, were defectively designed, yet many of them remain on the market.   It was frequently the insurance companies that led women to doctors to have these procedure. Doctors have admitted on the stand they were unaware of the dangers and had been made false promises by sales reps from the major mesh makers.

All of the problematic mesh, whether for prolapse (POP) or incontinence (SUI) is made from polypropylene and they are all substantially similar. They were all approved by the Food and Drug Administration as substantially equivalent to a “predicate device,” the ProteGen, which was eventually taken off the market for being defective.

I should not be in this position. I should never have had mesh implanted for a condition, not a disease. I should have received true informed consent. I did not. There are safer alternatives that have been known for decades, before mesh manufacturers began coaching doctors on this new “minimally-invasive” technique that would yield them greater profits in the shortest amount of time.

Insurance companies supported this procedure we now know was experimental and never underwent clinical trials for safety. I should never have to beg for my insurer to send me to the proper professional who very well may save my life.

But that is where I find myself.

A friend recently made signs and, along with supporters, petitioned in front of the insurers’ hospital to receive a referral to UCLA’s urology department, considered the most experienced in the world for mesh removals. Within about 20 minutes, she received that referral.  Is that what it takes?

I remain adamant that I receive a referral to the specialist of my choice based on the recommendations of others who have had successful mesh removals.  Together we can work on determine the best doctor to address my problems, as soon as is reasonably possible.

Because of the great number of mesh-related injuries, women are sharing stories of successful explants and competent mesh removal doctors around the country. 

I encourage the insurance company to gain a better understanding of the breadth of the problem because women are requiring multiple surgeries when the first doctor, the one closest to the patient who is the most cost-effective, may leave remnants of polypropylene behind to wreak havoc, migrate, shrink and continue to incite a foreign body response. That creates a “ticking time bomb” as the long-term effects have never been studied in clinical trials. We are essentially the lab rats.  

As is typical, one partial removal leads to another and then another adding unnecessary cost  to the insurer and a burden to my quality of life.  Isn’t it preferable to get the best surgical outcome initially?  Not only do I want to minimize experimentation on my body by someone not experienced in mesh removals, but I absolutely need to minimize my repeated exposure to anesthesia.  

Since insurers initially paid for these mesh implants, it is now time to step up and do the right thing- cover explant surgeries by reliable, experienced surgeons. 

Please advise me on the next step needed. I look forward to talking further with your representatives who have direct authority over my case and have the authority to issue a referral. Time is of the essence here.

I will follow up this week with the individual who has been assigned to my case.  Again, I cannot stress enough the seriousness of this situation. There are more mesh injuries coming so please begin to understand the scope of what you are about to face as an insurer of these women.  To deny them the proper medical care adds insult to horrendous injuries.


(your name here)

I am supplying you with stories that will back up my assertions here. Please read them and become knowledgeable about this issue.

Learn More Here:

Dr. Twiss on Mesh injuries

Dr. Veronikis on Mesh injuries

Doctors Speak out on Mesh Injuries 

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12 Comments to “Open Letter to Insurers Concerning Mesh Injuries”

  1. kristine says:

    Jane your Awesome. I once again found myself crying. Thank you.

  2. Wendy says:

    I couldn’t breath as I read your letter, the hurt that mesh has brought to my life is so unbearable most days. I felt like this is me after reading it, we are just as important as anyone. We just want to get back our quality of “a” life. Because right now I just want to stop the pain, the crying, the financial worry of the future. Thank you Jane

  3. Therese Weber says:

    I have had trouble with my mesh and had it removed with serious complications. Now that I am better I wanted to investigate my legal options only to be told that the”statute limitations” had run out. Many states including Oregon and Alaska (implanted and removed in Alaska) have a two year limit. I was too ill at that time to even consider looking into my legal options. Now, I’m being told “no exceptions”. I still see many doctor’s and have physical therapy often. This may not have been the correct forum for this email. I am at a loss and don’t know where to turn for information. If this is not the correct venue for this, my apology. At least I got to vent a bit of my frustration. For that, thank you.

    • msm says:

      That is horrible! My state has 3 yr. Statute of limitations, but it doesn’t start until the injury and/or cause of the injury is confirmed. My definitive diagnosis was not until 2013. Mainly becsuse I was continually told it was all in my head and believed it until was unbearsble and had no quality of life. Not all attorneys know this (which is a sad commentary on competence of some in the legal profession). Make sure it is true. Find the statute and read it yourself. You have probably already done all of that. I am genuinely angry that you are first injured medically and now legally!

      • Therese Weber says:

        Thank you, msm, for the kind words, this mesh ordeal has taken over my life. The list of complications is long and very painful. I have looked for an attorney to represent me, but they have said “go the big firms” Big firm told me to late. That was it, too late. No explanation of any kind. And, if by chance there is a “Global Settlement” I MAY be entitled to a portion. I have never seen such disregard and dismissive attitudes.

  4. HE says:

    I am thankful for this letter. I have wanted to write some nasty letters to my insurance company – many times. I received a letter from them before my first removal surgery stating: “You have a reason to obtain the help of an attorney. If you become involved in litigation, you are required to give us all of the information.” They sent a form with this letter for me to fill out. That is the first time I even knew that litigation was a consideration. I didn’t even have my first removal yet. I was very hopeful this was all it would take. I became very angry thinking – they knew this could happen and allowed it anyway. What is wrong with them? They must have a stack ready to send out to the next victim that they approve. I think they also should be denied reimbursement, because this isn’t a Dr. malpractice issue, this is an industry wide deception issue. That the very mesh put into me is still being put into others every day is horrific. When is someone in the cog going to wake up and recognize that lives are being destroyed, mutilated, and the fallout is overwhelming? The whole family suffers from the “minimally invasive” product that is anything but “minimally invasive”. I am angry at the whole system. That common sense is no longer used. That respect and decency have been replaced by denial and CYA. We need many, many specialists who understand these complications to help us and they are no where to be found. The Dr.’s are writing their books on us! Dr. Raz is good, but he is handling a giant patient load. This doesn’t help anyone who can’t get there. I cannot find one Dr. in my area that understands that mesh is dangerous, they are all using it! I find this so totally unacceptable. ACOG and the AUA have made statements on how to handle the mesh issues. We who have lived the nightmare have much different answers than the so called “experts”. I am tired of trying to self-diagnose, because of lies told to me by Dr.’s. I have a support network of women who know more than most of the Dr.’s. I have no idea of why no one seems to want to hear the truth, except those of us who are suffering. Except for money, that seems to be the bottom line. I agree that the two year statue of limitations should not apply to a permanently implanted product, because we have no idea when the bomb will go off. It should be considered under the murder statute. No limitations. We have all been injured differently and that might be part of the problem. I don’t know what it will take, but something BIG has to change.

  5. cruci says:

    I wonder will something like this work with people who have medicaid? If so can somebody send a letter format or how to start the letter, please?

  6. Suzanne McClain says:

    I actually wrote a letter to my insurance company back in 2008 when I became injured, asking that they stop covering Transvaginal Mesh surgery, and I sent it twice via certified mail. I got absolutely no response from them. I am hoping that this letter will not fall on deaf ears, since there is now documentation to back up the fact that tens of thousands of women have been injured.

    Thank you Jane for writing this!


    • Jane Akre says:

      You have to hope that someone saw it. Please send this letter to your insurers. They will see it….. if they get enough letters, perhaps they will even do something. You have to wonder how “human” humanity has become.

  7. Pamela Silva says:

    Well, along these very lines. It took me years to finally find a Urogynecology had signed up with my plan, the only one I could afford, and the only ones in the network. Guess what happened? They cancelled my appointment …twice! I have got a raging UTI at the least, I know. The pain goes up into my left abdomen. And, even though I did see a gynecologist, all he would tell me was, I had a rectocele, that I had when the mesh was placed for pelvic floor prolapse. My surgeon knew it, it is in my operative reports. Why he did not repair it, I have no idea. Anyway, when they called the second time, I told them what was wrong and I said, my life is very affected and I am very sick with this. You cannot keep doing this to schedule a surgery. They had tried to tell me it was emergency but you don’t schedule those. I don’t know what to do. Can anyone recommend doctors that are sort of on our side, so to speak, in the Dallas, Fort Worth area, or even in Texas??? I would really appreciate some help.

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