Son demands mesh implants ban after link to mother’s death

Eileen Baxter with her husband Chic (Mark Baxter/PA)

A “devastated” man whose mother’s death has been linked to a mesh implant has called for the products to be completely banned.

Eileen Baxter, 75, died in August after being admitted to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Multiple organ failure was said to have led to her death, with sacrocolopexy mesh repair – an implant to fix a pelvic organ prolapse – noted as an underlying cause.

Her son Mark, 52, said if his mother had known the potential implications she would never have had the implant, which he said destroyed her quality of life and robbed her of her dignity.

He said: “Prior to the implant she was the life and soul of the party, she was a great dancer and she loved going shopping.

“After the implant she was not able to do the simple things in life, she could never do what she once was able to do. It hurt my mum so much, but she put on a brave face.

“It was hard to see my mum like that and she was in a lot of pain.”

The Scottish Government has said it will consider whether a review or inquiry should be held in the wake of Mrs Baxter’s death.

Mr Baxter welcomed the news but also called for a complete ban on the implants.

He said: “I want to see it totally banned. I don’t want to see any other woman going through what my mum went through, or any other family going through it.

“It is hard to read that they are still carrying out this procedure.

“My mum has been a massive loss, not just to me and my family but outside the family circle. She was my best pal and my best friend.”

He said he was “devastated” at what happened to his mother, and added: “That mesh took my mother’s dignity completely away.”

Mrs Baxter, from Loanhead in Midlothian, leaves her husband Chic, two children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Scottish Labour said it is believed to be the first time a mesh implant has been officially listed as a cause of death in Scotland.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “The news that a repair to a mesh implant carried out by NHS Scotland was a contributing factor in the death of Eileen Baxter will deeply distress not only her family but the many hundreds of women in Scotland who underwent this procedure.

“In light of Mrs Baxter’s death, it is crucial that the Cabinet Secretary for Health investigates this specific case fully to ensure no further harm is done to women in any part of the country.

“This news leaves absolutely no doubt that the minister must also now immediately ban mesh implants from NHS Scotland.

“Many women who have undergone this procedure say they have experienced infections, bleeding and even paralysis.

“Mesh implants should be consigned to the history books and those manufacturers who potentially broke the law should be prosecuted.”

Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “We are unable to discuss individual care without consent. If patients or relatives have concerns surrounding care or treatment, we would urge them to get in touch with us and contact our patient experience team.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our condolences go to the family and friends of Eileen Baxter.

“The Scottish Government does not hold information on individual patients or their treatment, but we will give any information supplied to us on Ms Baxter’s case very careful consideration.”