Grieving son who lost mother to mesh set to meet health secretary

Chic Baxter, whose wife Eileen died in August, with his daughter Audrey. Picture: Jon SavageChic Baxter, whose wife Eileen died in August, with his daughter Audrey. Picture: Jon Savage
Chic Baxter, whose wife Eileen died in August, with his daughter Audrey. Picture: Jon Savage
The son of the first woman in Scotland to have mesh listed as an underlying cause of death is to meet with health secretary Jeane Freeman tomorrow to discuss his mother's case.

Mark Baxter will go to Holyrood with his sister Audrey and mesh campaigner Neil Findlay MSP to discuss the circumstances surrounding the death of their mother Eileen who passed away on 27 August.

Mrs Baxter, a great-grandmother, who was married to 79-year-old Chic, had multiple organ failure listed as directly leading to her death after being admitted to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, with internal bleeding, sickness and diarrhoea.

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The 75-year-old also had a perforated bowel that may have been linked to sacrocolopexy mesh repair surgery that she had five years previously. Last week the health secretary told parliament that the use of transvaginal mesh repair implants has been immediately halted in NHS Scotland. The move came after The Scotsman revealed Mrs Baxter’s death.

However, this does not include other procedures such as transabdominal mesh surgery which Mrs Baxter underwent for a pelvic organ prolapse but these will be subject to “high vigilance” procedures.

Mr Baxter said he was “looking for answers” to a number of questions that he planned to ask Ms Freeman. He added: “The first question I’ll be asking Jeane Freeman is will there be an inquest into my mum’s case?

“I want to know if I can become a member of the NHS risk management panel that is looking into the use of mesh, this would provide transparency.

“I also want to know if there was a risk assessment put in place before my mother’s operation?

“I want to know how there was a tear in my mother’s bowel.

“Normally this kind of thing happens during an operation and I’m going to ask what the mesh device was called and who were the manufacturers?

“I want to know if my mum had any underlying bowel condition that could have been recognised as a risk and was she ever asked if they could remove the mesh?

“I’m going to say to Jeane Freeman that she’s responsible for protecting and promoting public health and providing welfare for others and I want to know what she’s going to do about this for the other women that are going to be worried they could suffer the same fate as my mother.”

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Labour MSP Neil Findlay, said Mr Baxter “deserves answers” from the health minister over his mother’s death.

He added: “Seeing mesh listed as one of the underlying causes of Eileen Baxter’s death was confirmation of what many have known all along – mesh should not be implanted inside human beings.

“This substance has left thousands of women across the world debilitated, in chronic pain and unable to walk or live their lives as they previously did.

“Some have lost organs, many have witnessed the end of their careers, their relationships and some have lost their homes.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Health Secretary wants to hear first-hand the experiences and views of Ms Baxter’s family following this tragic case.

“Health boards were last week instructed to immediately halt the use of transvaginal mesh altogether in cases of both pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, pending the implementation of a new restricted use protocol that will ensure procedures are carried out only in the most exceptional circumstances and subject to a robust process of approval and fully informed consent.”