A woman who campaigned against vaginal mesh implants has died from complications triggered by her own implant. Christina Brajcic, 42, who was ill with sepsis, is thought to be the first woman to die in what the media has called the vaginal mesh scandal.
Her death comes just a week after the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) called for a ban on vaginal mesh operations to treat organ prolapse in England.
Brajcic, from Ontario, Canada, was implanted with a plastic mesh device to treat mild incontinence after her second son was born four years ago. She suffered serious complications and claimed the operation had ruined her life, leaving her unable to walk, urinate or have sex. The pain became unbearable, she told CTV W5, "and finally it was like my insides were ripping out.”
Brajcic was left bedridden and also suffered nerve damage from the implant, which she had to have removed in a complicated five-hour operation the following year. She then had to be treated in hospital monthly for urinary tract infections, became resistant to her antibiotics and eventually contracted sepsis, a life-threatening condition that can result in organ failure and death.
For years before her tragic death, Brajcic had spent years campaigning to raise awareness of the dangers arising from the implants, selling t-shirts, ribbons and stickers and giving the money raised back to sufferers.
“Funny how after going septic and almost dying now I’m getting respect and being treated well by doctors," she wrote on Facebook on 15th November. "All it took was dying to get better care and better pain management. I will take it...its better then fighting for my care.”
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Following Brajcic's death, a Just Giving page has been set up to raise money for her two children, Ben and Jake. "Chrissy was a courageous woman who, despite her suffering, remained, calm, strong and beautiful and determined to spread the message to stop other women suffering as she did," the page reads.
In the UK, the government recently rejected calls from Labour and campaigners for an inquiry and ban on vaginal mesh implants after MPs debated the issue in the House of Commons. Labour MP Emma Hardy said she was “incredibly disappointed” by the outcome. “The lives of women and their families have been turned upside down ... The devastation has been appalling," she told the Independent.
“The government will not be able to undo suffering, but a suspension will go a long way to make sure nothing like this happens again.”