Suit: Women With Pelvic Mesh Pain Given 'Appalling' Sex Advice

Huge medical scandal in Australia spurs class-action complaint
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2017 1:45 PM CDT
Suit: Women With Pelvic Mesh Pain Given 'Appalling' Sex Advice
Many women in the lawsuit describe debilitating pain.   (Getty Images/Marjan_Apostolovic)

Disturbing details are emerging in a class-action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in Australia, where more than 700 women allege complications from transvaginal mesh implants so severe their lives have been ruined. From chronic pain and injured organs to painful intercourse and an inability to work, they're part of what one Australian politician is calling the country's "biggest medical scandal," reports Johnson & Johnson, the makers of the device surgically implanted to help treat problems common after childbirth, such as pelvic prolapse, maintains that these women represent only a "small minority" of patients, per the Evening Standard. However, published internal emails between doctors and J&J reveal the extent of the reported devastation on women's bodies, and doctors' attitudes toward them.

In one email posted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a French gynecologist wrote anal sex would be a "good alternative" for women in too much pain for intercourse. "I said to myself, there you go, for your next prolapse [patient], you talk to her about ... fellatio, sodomy, the clitoris with or without G-spot, etc.," one wrote. "I am sure of one thing: that I would very quickly be treated like some kind of sex maniac (which, perhaps, I am) or a pervert, or an unhealthily curious person." Women in the suit say they've heard similar lines from their doctors and call the advice "despicable" and "appalling," per the Guardian. One woman asks how a medical practitioner could "be so thoughtless and arrogant as to suggest that anal sex is an adequate solution to sexual dysfunction." Meanwhile, in the US, more than 120,000 suits are pending. (A court ruled sex is still important for women over 50.)

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