Rockingham man starts hernia support group after nightmare five years

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Surgical mesh implant.
Camera IconSurgical mesh implant. Credit: Stock image

A Rockingham man who has endured chronic pain since undergoing an operation to insert a surgical mesh to repair an umbilical hernia has started a local support group for others facing the same difficulties.

Gore “Storm” Mackey was told his 2013 operation was a “small day procedure” and the surgery he had waited more than 18 months for was “very little to worry about”.

But within a week, he was experiencing new sharp pains around his abdomen, a burning sensation in his left groin and thigh, complications with breathing and fatigue.

Mr Mackey put his breathing difficulties and fatigue down to a career spent mining underground, but after five years these complications had not abated.

It was only after reading an ABC News report last week about men who had also undergone mesh implant surgeries to fix hernias suffering similar pains that he started to connect the dots.

He visited an online support group, Hernia Mesh Australia, and discovered hundreds more horror stories from men and women around the country who had mesh implants inserted as part of their hernia operations.

“Now I know the reality of other guys’ experiences, reading the same things from others that I’ve gone through, it’s not a coincidence,” Mr Mackey said.

His experience in having to file a freedom of information report to access his surgery records to discover what mesh was used in his operation led him to start the support group, Hernia Mesh Ups Western Australia, for others around Rockingham who had similar experiences.

“I want to let other people know what they will have to go through to get information because I’ve just started that myself and I didn’t know what to expect. I want to be able to help others, to give them a heads-up about what they’ll have to go through to get that information,” he said.

“I wish I had known earlier so I could’ve done something to fix it but I’ve given up; I’m not having another operation. Other people have got depression from this, the pain has made others suicidal.

“I got no answers, doctors shrugged off my pain and concerns because x-rays, blood tests and heart scans all showed nothing abnormal. I just kept getting given pain killers.

“I want this to come out so everyone else whose story is the same will have someone to lean on and I can help them from the start, tell them what they need to know, what they need to do and what others have done about it.”

For more information, search Mesh Too Western Australia on Facebook or contact Mr Mackey on 0459 346 120.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails