MT CLEAR woman Andrea Eppingstall has been living a nightmare for the past 18 months after a medical implant that was supposed to fix her stress incontinence went horribly wrong.
She is now one of more than 300 Australian women, and at least six from Ballarat, who are participating in a class action against Johnson and Johnson’s mesh products, used mostly for prolapse and stress incontinence.
Ms Eppingstall said she suffered serious complications after receiving a Johnson and Johnson trans-vaginal tape implant in March 2012.
At the time she believed it to be a safe medical procedure, but alarm bells began to ring weeks later when the pain refused to subside.
She later discovered the tape had broken up and eroded into her bodily organs.
Since then the mum-of-two has had two repair operations under general anaesthetic and is planning even more surgery to have the product fully removed.
Ms Eppingstall said joining the class action was about raising awareness so other women wouldn’t have to go through it.
She worries many could still be suffering in silence.
“It’s a nightmare, not knowing what the long term prognosis is,” she said.
“If I’m having an episode of pain I might not be able to drive my car, or stand at the soccer to cheer my kids on.
“It’s just so awful – I don’t want anyone else to put up with that.”
Ms Eppingstall said she took pain medication when required and was extremely lucky to have the support of her husband and family.
Shine Lawyers partner Rebecca Jancauskas said the firm had started federal court action against the Australian distributor Johnson and Johnson and its manufacturer Ethicon, on behalf of all Australian women who had been implanted with the products and suffered complications as a result.
“We understand 39,000 implants have been used nationwide, potentially more,” Ms Jancauskas said.