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tv   A Story of Three Health Scandals  BBC News  July 11, 2020 7:30pm-7:46pm BST

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now on bbc one, it's time for the news where you are. this is bbc news. the headlines. tributes pour in forjack charlton, who played in england's world cup winning football team that managed the republic of ireland after his death at the age of 85. open—air theatres, live music venues and swimming pools reopen today in the latest easing of the lockdown in england. labour calls for the uk government to clarify its position on face coverings, after the prime minister said a stricter approach was needed in england. and bosnia
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has marked the 25th anniversary of the srebrenica massacre, in which 8000 bosnian muslim men and boys we re 8000 bosnian muslim men and boys were murdered. a former islamic state fighter from britain dies were murdered. a former islamic state fighterfrom britain dies in the notorious hassa keh state fighterfrom britain dies in the notorious hassakeh prison, where many is fighters are being held. now on bbc news, a long—awaited review into three medical treatments was published this week, and found many women were not warned about the risks and, when things went wrong, doctors didn't believe them. the baroness cumberlege review is detailed failings in how some patients have been treated by the system for than 50 years. anna collinson spoke to some of those affected. they were not warned about the risks. the more we found out about this, the more it's made us actually really quite angry.
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when things went wrong, they weren't believed. i listened to doctors who treated me as a hysterical parent and thought, well, i must be going mad. now, a long—awaited review says many lives have been ruined because the health system didn't listen to women. mesh has robbed me of the person i used to be. my life is completely different. the baroness cumberlege review focuses on the primodos, the drug sodium valproate, and pelvic mesh. this is the story of three health scandals and their devastating impact. it takes 270 pages to list the failings, missed opportunities and the pain inflicted on tens of thousands of people. baroness cumberlege says all families affected deserve an immediate apology from the authorities and financial support. she's also made a list of several recommendations to prevent future harm, and is adamant they will happen.
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daniel mason has to work far harder to do the simplest of tasks. he was born without hands and with other life—changing injuries. when daniel was born, doctors told his parents they should abandon him and have another baby. they refused but, 50 years on, it's still a painful thought for daniel. the idea of saying, we think you should get rid of your child to a dumping ground, in effect, by 1970, isjust quite... well, it takes the breath away. like many women, between the 1950s and 1970s, daniel's mum used to hormone pregnancy test primodos. if they bled after taking two tablets, it meant they were not pregnant. the drug was removed from the market in 1978,
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but its manufacturer denies there is a link between primodos and babies being born with birth defects. hundreds of families disagreed and have been campaigning for recognition for decades. the more we found out about this, the more it's made us actually really quite angry, not just for ourselves but as a family, butjust thinking of the trauma that so many people have gone through. i do get quite severe depressive episodes, and that has been going on for many, many years now. i went through a period where lots of my friends were getting married and having children and so on, and it's not happened for me, so there's that sort of angle to it as well, but i think that psychological impact has perhaps not helped with relationships at times. i hope you don't mind me asking this, but have you ever been suicidal? yes, yes. i am very lucky to be here, frankly, because we know that an awful lot
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of mothers aborted or they had children born dead who were taken away from them, and they never knew what had gone wrong, or their children lived a few years and then died, for example, from a heart condition. so i am jolly lucky to be here, frankly. the cumberlege review says primodos should have been stopped three years before daniel was born, in 1967. there's been much debate over the drug's links with birth defects, but the review says there is a possible association. the acknowledgement is a huge moment for daniel. the future is important, from the review‘s perspective, but so is the past. an awful lot of mothers are still out there who feel really guilty. it wasn't their fault that they were prescribed this, but they still have a guilt complex that they inadvertently caused this
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to happen to their child. and they've had to live with that their whole lives. as someone who has epilepsy, if i don't take my medication regularly or if i don't have the right medication, it means that i would just have a fit at any given moment. i could be anywhere, and actually you can die when you are having a fit, so it's very important that you are on the right medication and you take it on a regular basis. i was 18 and i went to see my specialist and he said, oh, there's this brilliant new drug and, for a period of time, it did work. if sodium valproate is taken
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during pregnancy, it could increase the risk of birth defects and developmental disorders like autism. were you ever warned of any risks of taking sodium valproate? no, no risks at all. some doctors often say, when we tell them patients weren't warned, they'll say, may be patientjust doesn't remember or they weren't listening properly. i am absolutely, entirely sure. i was never given any warnings. so your first child was a miscarriage and then your second one, was that william? that was william, yes. gorgeous boy. lisa miscarried again, before having a baby called alice. growing up, lisa could see her children had problems, but professionals repeatedly told her it was nothing to worry about. i always kept banging on, but i listened to doctors who treated me as a hysterical parent and thought, well, i must be going mad.
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now i know, i'm sorry that i didn't kick more doors down. many women have to take medicines during pregnancy, but could they be risking the health of their unborn child? and then, suddenly, one day, my mum phoned up and she said, did you see panorama last night? and i said, no. and she said, you've got to watch it. and i'm like, why? she said, they've made a programme about william and alice. she could be mentally or physically disabled and she could have no quality of life. it wasjust like a light had been switched on and everything fell into place. everything wrong with my children was down to the drug that i was told was safe to take. lisa believes sodium valproate affected her children in many ways. william has attention deficit disorder and depression, while alice has epilepsy and learning difficulties. both have autism and dyspraxia.
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lisa also believes the medication caused her two miscarriages. my kids have got lifelong problems. that's all down to me. they shouldn't be like that. they wouldn't be like that if i hadn't been taking tablets. they would be just happy, normal young people. but it sounds like you did everything you could to protect your children, but you were not told the risks. yeah, but that doesn't make the guilt go away. manufacturer manufacturer sanofi says it's complied with its regulatory obligations, including the provision of product information. baroness cumberlege says all women and girls who take sodium valproate must be aware of the risks and choose if they want to take it. a pregnancy prevention programme is already in place to educate patients, but it's claimed it doesn't always work. do you wish something like that had been given to you?
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oh, god, yes. yes. there's even a helpline number at the back, but you don't actually find out about what happens and the birth defects until page five, six and seven. that's quite buried. the cumberlege review has also recommended that the victims of the three scandals should receive financial support. in the case of sodium valproate, to help with care. a lot of these kids have got lifelong problems. they are not going to get better. and then who's going to look after them when their parents are gone? so, if the government admit that failings have been made, they are also going to have to admit that they need to look after these kids.
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we are spending an afternoon with a group of women who were all strangers before they experienced complications following mesh repairs. having lost trust in the medical community, they turned to each other for support. this was the last time they were allowed to meet before lockdown. hello. hi. i'm hannah from the bbc. people don't particularly like to talk about their bottoms or their vaginas or anything like that, but now we just have sort of like this unwritten rule that we can talk about anything and we'll help each other as much as we possibly can. was it hard initially to open up about that? i found it very embarrassing. now, some of the things we talk about, unreal! the pain experienced when a pelvic mesh repair goes wrong has been likened to splintered glass. it is estimated one in ten women
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experience complications following the procedure, which is used to treat incontinence or prolapse. within months of starting her review, baroness cumberlege was so appalled by the stories she was hearing, she recommended that the procedure should be stopped until certain conditions were met. that pause is still in place. mesh has robbed me of the person i used to be. my life is completely different. pelvic mesh was used to treat jill hedley‘s incontinence. she also experienced complications after a bowel mesh removal. major surgery is required, and doctors have warned there is a risk she could die. i'm so scared to have the operation but, until i have it, i can't live my life the same way. the review has not recommended a complete mesh ban, something many campaigners wanted. instead, it set out conditions which must be met before the pause can be lifted. even then, it says mesh should be seen as a last resort. before that mesh is put in, the women should be told the truth
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of what can go wrong and, if it's still mesh that's put in for life, without being able to be taken out, it's in permanent, i think the patient should be really, really, really made aware of what that actually entails. if it hadn't been for the victoria derbyshire show, i wouldn't have found answers as to what was going wrong in my body. the baroness‘s review is focusing on vaginal mesh. how does that feel for somebody like yourself, who has had a hernia mesh? although i am overjoyed that it's highlighting vaginal mesh, i desperately want hernia mesh to be included. ursula has had two hernia mesh repairs and experienced life—threatening complications after the implants attached to her bowels. she says doctors say the only way her large hernia can be fixed is by yet more mesh, a prospect she can't bear. i go to bed on a night knowing that i've got nobody to fix me,
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and i wake up in the morning with no hope, so i'vejust got to keep... i wear bright colours, i cover myself with them, and that's what they've done to me. they've made me a freak. sorry.
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hello and welcome to sportsday. coming up on tonight's programme... a leeds united legend, a world cup winner and the man credited with changing irish football. tributes to jack charlton, who's died at the age of 85. the end of the road for norwich — officially relegated to the championship as another defeat leaves them firmly anchored to the bottom of the table. england's batsmen hit back against the west indies in southampton to leave the first test finely balanced. and lewis hamilton storms to pole with a masterclass in the rain at the styrian grand prix.


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