AN AMBULANCE technician has spoken for the first time about how her life has been destroyed by controversial mesh implants.
Debbie McGeachy is suing NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for damages after being left in constant agonising pain, unable to walk and a prisoner in her own home after routine surgery for bladder problems.
She is also taking legal action against Johnson and Johnson the manufacturer, accusing them of supplying a defective product.
Debbie revealed her living hell to the Evening Times in a bid to warn other women about the procedure.
The once fit and healthy 46-year-old, from Pollok, who loved exercise and took part in charity runs and boot camps, insists she's now a "broken woman".
Debbie has even thought about suicide after side effects from a mesh implant robbed her of a normal life, ruined her career and shattered her dreams of becoming a paramedic.
She wept: "I don't have a life, this is an existence. I haven't been able to accept that I have been left disabled and that constant pain and incontinence is my life from now on.
"I am so suicidal. I have thought of taking my own life so many times over the past few months and have
been prescribed anti-depressants."
Debbie has fought to get her life back for her teenage children Hollie, 16, and Connor, 14, and partner Gary Morrison, who is a paramedic, but she insists she is beaten.
She added: "The only thing that stops me from taking my own life are my kids and Gary.
"I don't want to be here any more. This house is my prison. I don't go out for days, I have no social life and my confidence is gone.
"I used to be a confident, bubbly, happy person with so much to live for - now I'm just a broken woman. I am at rock bottom."
Debbie is one of hundreds of women left in agony after being given surgical mesh implants to treat incontinence and bladder problems, many have ended up in a wheelchair.
After a campaign for action by victims, former Health Secretary Alex Neil called for the suspension of the mesh implants and an independent review of the procedure to report in the new year. Despite his actions, a three-year SIMS study is being run by NHS Grampian consultant urogynaecologist Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, of Aberdeen University's Health Services Research Unit.
It received a £1.65 million grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).
The study aims to recruit 650 women to compare two mesh implants, a single incision mini-sling (SIMS) with the TVT-O device already found to be defective in two American courts.
In May 2010, Debbie had the mesh treatment for stress incontinence and an overactive bladder, brought on by lifting in her job.
She was told it was a "five-star" 30-minute procedure and that she would be back at work within six weeks.
She claims she wasn't told about any side-effects and thought it was the solution to all her problems, but it has turned out to be a nightmare ordeal and her original symptoms are now worse.
Debbie has been left with permanent nerve damage and is taking a cocktail of drugs every day in a desperate bid to manage her pain.
She's had several operations and botox injected into her bladder but nothing worked and she had it removed in August.
Debbie said: "There are hundreds of women in Scotland in the same situation and the support for each other has been phenomenal. I don't know what I would have done without them. I cannot believe women are still being offered this treatment on a trial. I would beg them not to do it."
Debbie went off sick in May this year because the pain was unbearable and she had no control over her bladder.
She said: "I had no choice, I was wetting myself in the ambulance and in patients' houses. I was on night shift and I couldn't stop for the toilet on route to an emergency so my job became impossible. The incontinence and the pain became unbearable."
In April, Debbie was still battling against the odds and entered a 5krun with her daughter in memory of her late mum, but she knew it would be her last. She said: "I finished the run but I was in so much pain and was incontinent during the race. I knew then that I would never run again. I only managed it to the end for my mum."
Debbie hopes to get back to work at some point, but she will never go back to her old job or become a paramedic. Her lawyer Seonaid Brophy from Thompsons Solicitors said: "What Debbie is going through is an absolute tragedy for her and her family.
"The problems caused by surgical mesh can have a devastating effect on the quality of people's lives and often victims feel forgotten about by the health authorities.
"Thousands of women across Scotland are suffering like Debbie, more must be done to help them and to make sure that the widespread problems with surgical mesh are solved."
A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said it continues to offer mesh implants to certain patients who meet the clinical criteria for this procedure.
He said: "At their initial outpatient appointment all patients who are assessed and require mesh procedures have the opportunity to fully discuss the risks and benefits of treatment options.
"In addition they are given the patient information booklet provided by the Scottish Government." Despite calls to Johnson and Johnson no-one was available for comment.
What are mesh implants?
Q: What are transvaginal mesh implants?
A: They are used to treat incontinence in women and are widely used in the UK, Europe and North America. The implants are medical devices used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in women, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. Some women with incontinence receive treatment using tension free vaginal tape, although adverse side effects are not thought to be as common. The mesh is supposed to repair damaged or weakened tissue.
Q: What are the possible complications?
A: Some women have reported severe and constant abdominal and vaginal pain following the surgery, and some have been told that they can no longer have sexual intercourse. Others experienced infections and bleeding, while many have said their original incontinence symptoms have not been improved by the surgery.