‘Margaret is in so much pain she can barely walk’... OAP tells of wife’s mesh implant torture at age 83
An 83-year-old woman enduring daily agony as a result of a mesh implant has been told she has to wait up to six months for a scan to assess the extent of the internal damage.
Margaret Keers is finding it increasingly difficult to walk and has already been told her mesh implant is the reason for her recurrent urinary tract infections.
Despite this she has been told she is not an urgent case and the wait time for a routine translabial scan at Northern Ireland's specialist mesh centre is 23 weeks.
Mrs Keers, from east Belfast, has also been told only 13 women had undergone a translabial scan at the centre by April 13 despite the fact the service was launched at the beginning of the month.
Her husband David (88) said: "Margaret had her mesh put in in September 2003 and she's been in pain for years, but probably for the past seven or eight years she has been suffering from a lot of infections and the pain has got progressively worse.
"She's been on antibiotics every three or so months.
"She eventually had an appointment at the Mater Hospital and after an examination the doctor told her the mesh was the problem, it's actually attached to her uterus.
"She has been seen by another consultant since and he said about having a scan done as Margaret has also been struggling a lot with her hip and a pain in her groin for years but we've been told she isn't an urgent case.
"We've been told the wait for a routine appointment is 23 weeks, we've been told they'd only done 13 such scans by April 13, so what's going on?
"You would think they would be seeing 13 patients a day so they would have seen more than 100 people in that time.
"Margaret's pain has got worse to the point where she can barely walk at all.
"I'm 88 and I've got my own problems. I've terrible arthritis, but I have to follow Margaret up and down the stairs otherwise she wouldn't be able to manage them herself. She can't even really walk without me.
"I help her into the car and out of the car, I have to get her up from sitting. I have put her to bed at night and get her up in the morning again. We asked about even paying the scan to be done but were told it isn't available privately and we would have to travel to England to have it done.
"It is very frustrating and upsetting."
Jackie Henry from a local mesh support group said Mrs Keers' ordeal shows that women are still being failed by the health service.
"I know a lot of women who had appointments at the mesh centre in April received letters to say their appointments had been cancelled, but I have no idea what is going on there," she said.
"It's simply not good enough.
"We were told the mesh centre was going to be all singing, all dancing and that clearly isn't the case.
"Any woman being left to wait this length of time is not acceptable but for a woman in her 80s is horrific, it shouldn't be allowed to happen."
The Belfast Trust said: "We can confirm that there is currently a wait of approximately 23 weeks for a translabial scan.
"This is due to the large number of people waiting for the scan and we apologise for any frustration felt by patients on this waiting list.
"All patients are booked for this scan based on clinical priority.
"This service has been running since the beginning April 2019."
Alliance Party health spokeswoman Paula Bradshaw said: "Cases such as this should be treated as absolute priority for immediate treatment.
"Fundamentally the issue arises from a health service error in the first place, as mesh procedures are increasingly being demonstrated to be of much higher risk than initially believed."