In 2003, when Janine Ryan's (not her real name pending a lawsuit) mother, Sophia, had a Kugel Mesh hernia patch implanted, neither knew that there were any possible risks associated with the patch. But Sophia's patch broke, causing her to experience severe pain and other serious problems. Like many other people, Ryan and Sophia are upset that they were never warned about the possibility of the Kugel Mesh patch breaking.
In the spring of 2003, Sophia had a hernia operation in which the doctor used a Kugel Mesh patch to repair the hernia. Three years later, in the spring of 2006, Sophia began having serious problems, including nausea, pain, redness and swelling in her abdomen. After a lump developed in her abdominal area, Sophia decided to see her doctor. The doctor, believing Sophia to have another hernia, scheduled her in for another hernia surgery. However, during the surgery the doctor found a far more serious problem: the Kugel Mesh used to repair Sophia's hernia had adhered to her intestines.
The mesh had actually perforated Sophia's intestines and caused a massive infection. The doctor had to remove three inches of Sophia's bowel and taking out all of the mesh. However, he could not put another mesh in to protect against a hernia and warned her that another hernia was likely to occur.
Ryan says her mother was in the hospital for five days. She was sent home on a Monday and Ryan was given instructions for how to care for her mother once Sophia's drain tube was taken out.
"We got home, the drain tube had been taken out, and something was leaking out of her drain hole," Ryan says. "Only it wasn't just leaking–it was pouring out. It was putrid and there was a disgusting smell to it. By Thursday, I had enough. Every time she tried to sit up, stuff would ooze out of her and I just felt it could not be normal."
Ryan phoned her mother's doctor and demanded Sophia be put on antibiotics. Sophia was also given another drain tube. "In all, it took months for my mother to get better," Ryan says. "After the antibiotics, it was a whole week before the smell went away. I had to flush and empty the drain tube daily."
After the infection, Sophia developed another hernia as well, so she required yet another surgery to repair the new hernia. "The whole thing was a terrible ordeal," Ryan says. "The infection caused by that patch was awful. It really bothers me that they knew in 2002 about problems with the mesh. My mother had her surgery in the spring of 2003 but we were never warned that there could be any problems with it."
In all, Sophia required two surgeries, developed a massive infection, lost three inches of her bowel and suffered another hernia all because her Kugel Mesh patch failed and adhered to her intestines. Luckily, she survived her ordeal, but others have not been so fortunate. "I don't like to think about it, but what if I hadn't been there to care for her?" Ryan says. "What could have happened if someone else was caring for her? It could have been much worse."