There are growing concerns about the safety of pelvic mesh implants.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified a vaginal pelvic mesh implant as a high-risk device.

According to The Guardian, 1 in 15 UK women who received vaginal pelvic mesh implants in a ten year period had to have these partially or fully removed due to complications.  Some women have been in such agony that they have been unable to walk.

It’s therefore not surprising that a Canadian study found that patients with complications after pelvic mesh implants are at an increased risk of depression, self-harm, and even suicide.

The study published in the Journal JAMA tracked more than 57,000 women in Ontario who had complications such as pain and infections after receiving the polypropylene implants used to treat incontinence.

The study found that:

  • Of those referred for mesh removal surgery, 11 per cent were treated for depression.
  • 2.7 per cent suffered from self-harm or suicidal behavior, which was almost double the rate in the control group.



“One woman from British Columbia, who asked not to be identified, has told CTV News that after being in agony for many months and unable to find a doctor willing to remove her implant she has “filled out paperwork for assisted dying due to the agonizing pain of mesh and the fact that I have no medical care regarding mesh.”


This woman’s story illustrates two important points:

A pre-requisite to a free choice is equitable access to care

Since this woman was unable to access the medical care she so desperately needed, her decision to request a lethal injection was not a truly free and voluntary choice.


‘Assisted dying’ is a form of suicide 

Advocates claim that ‘assisted dying’ and suicide are different issues. They argue that ‘assisted dying’ is requested by terminally ill people who make a rational decision to end their lives. They argue that suicide is an irrational choice by people who are not at the end of their lives and who have treatable depression.

In reality the boundaries between suicide and ‘assisted dying’ are blurry.


This woman’s story shows that the same group of people, who are not terminally ill and who are likely to have depression, are seeking both suicide and ‘assisted dying’ for the same reasons.

Essentially the only difference between suicide and ‘assisted dying’ is the number of people involved in bringing about the person’s death:


  • It is suicide when a person ends their own life without help, for example by obtaining and swallowing a lethal dose of drugs.
  • It is assisted suicide when a person ends their own life with help, taking the final action that ends their life. For example, they would receive help to obtain a lethal dose but would swallow the drugs themselves.
  • It is euthanasia when another person takes the final action that ends a person’s life, for example by administering a lethal dose by injection.