What happens when the same medical system you trust to fix you, ends up being the system that harms you? You become an advocate, of course! This is the path taken by Lana Keeton, who joined Consumers Union last year on Capitol Hill to lobby for medical device safety reforms, and her story was featured in the Austin American-Statesman. Lana was severely injured by a surgical mesh product in 2001 and had to undergo 17 surgeries to repair the damage. Lana invited our Safe Patient Project to attend a presentation she did this week at the University of Texas at Austin.

Here’s a bit of what she said:

Almost 6 years after my near death from a hysterectomy/bladder suspension I became a patient advocate. It was 4 years, a few hundred thousand dollars in medical bills and countless doctor visits before I knew the doctor had implanted a permanently placed, petroleum based medical device in me. That informed consent I signed December 21, 2001 had given permission to my doctor to cause me irreversible harm.

Protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming a drug or device injured person who lives a life of pain, despair and isolation.

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Lana Keeton and Joleen Chambers, device safety advocates

The presentation room was packed and it allowed the opportunity for Lana and fellow device safety advocate, Joleen Chambers, to answer audience members’ questions. Joleen’s brother, Steven, was injured by a failed elbow implant and he continues to live in constant pain.

One audience person asked, where should one go to find scientific research about medical devices? Lana responded by discussing the conflicts of interest in medicine, where manufacturers fund studies on their products that tout the benefits and downplay the risks to patients. She also recommended visiting the FDA’s MedWatch website and MAUDE system for medical devices. Joleen stressed the importance of consumers getting involved to push for increased medical device industry accountability and heightened protections for patients.

We value the work of these advocates who are informing the public about medical device safety issues and the need for patients to be informed about device dangers that may not be told to them.

Do you have a medical device story to share? Share it with us here and help us fight for safer medical devices. For more information on device safety issues, read Consumer Reports’ investigation.