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horror op Cancer survivor who says his life is 'living hell' since mesh surgery faces losing home

Darren Morrison spent two years in hospital and could not even get out of bed for a full year as his stomach had to remain open

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Darren Morrison who is housebound following a medical procedure that went wrong.  Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Darren Morrison who is housebound following a medical procedure that went wrong. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Darren Morrison who is housebound following a medical procedure that went wrong. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

A cancer survivor who had a mesh inserted into his bowel due to surgery complications claims his life has been a living hell since and now the banks want to repossess his home as he cannot work to repay the mortgage.

Dubliner Darren Morrison's ordeal has been ongoing for more than 30 years.

After he had a tumour removed, a follow-up operation went horrifically wrong.

Now housebound in a second-floor apartment, Darren (50) was once a high-flying executive and was a manager in the RDS and the IFSC before his condition became progressively worse and he had to give up work.

He explains that after his tumour was removed he had follow-up keyhole surgery to make sure no cancer was returning.

During this operation, his bowel was perforated and he developed peritonitis.

He spent the next two years in hospital and could not even get out of bed for a full year as his stomach had to remain open.

After a long battle, he eventually left hospital in 1993 at the age of 23.

He led a fairly normal life but over time he suffered severe pains, which doctors found were due to a sub-acute bowel obstruction caused by adhesions.

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Darren Morrison in St. Vincents Hospital

Darren Morrison in St. Vincents Hospital

Darren Morrison in St. Vincents Hospital

On June 3, 2008, he had surgery after fears his bowel would perforate again as his stomach had become distended.

Darren thought that he could once again lead a normal life.

"After I had the operation, I was made walk up and down the corridor by the nurses, to keep the phlegm off my lungs, they said," he recalls.

"The doctors then instructed the nurses to remove every second staple after 10 days.

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"I was again made to walk up the corridor.

"During one of these walks I felt what I can only describe as a 'pop' in my stomach, I looked down and could see a lot of blood coming on to my pyjamas."

He nearly fainted with the pain and had emergency surgery.

"During the main operation a mesh was put under the skin to stop the adhesions sticking my bowel to my stomach wall again.

"The mesh used was a non-dissolving type. My wounds were left open, covered with a bandage, and I was told they would heal in time.

"I now know that the wound heals from underneath and the mesh prevents this. If it had been a dissolving type of mesh it would have healed shortly afterwards."

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Darren Morrison who is housebound following a medical procedure that went wrong.  Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Darren Morrison who is housebound following a medical procedure that went wrong. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Darren Morrison who is housebound following a medical procedure that went wrong. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Since the operation his condition has been worse than ever.

"I had constant cramps, pains and diarrhoea every day. I cannot leave my apartment and feel like a prisoner. In all, I could not leave my apartment properly for six months.

"I started getting depressed and was prescribed Valium; I was getting panic attacks."

Darren sued the hospital over the first problem he suffered and got €220,000 in compensation. He could not sue the second time around for the mesh due to a 'double jeopardy' clause.

After fees he was left with €180,000. He put deposits down on two properties, one for himself and one as an investment for his then three-year-old daughter.

When he could not work he could not keep up the mortgage repayments and lost his daughter's house. The Bank of Ireland now want to repossess his own apartment and he is now €200,000 in debt.

"Ideally I would love a ground floor apartment, even from the council, as I cannot get down from the second floor due to my condition and I'm trapped," he explains.

Darren would also like the Government to do more for mesh sufferers like himself and reckons there could be as many as 10,000 cases in Ireland.

"This surgical mesh was never tested in humans, it went terribly wrong and I have no life at all any more," he says.

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Darren Morrison. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Darren Morrison. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Darren Morrison. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

"Because mesh is still a relatively new device, disasters like mine are happening to unsuspecting patients.

"Mesh removal is very complicated. When things go wrong, like happened to me, it's very hard to find a surgeon willing to give it a try which makes it a very dangerous and painful experience for the rest of your life."

He says to find properly trained surgeons for mesh removal he has to pay to have private treatment in America.

"I am in contact with these surgeons and get advice from them, but can't afford to go to America to see them as it costs thousands which I don't have," he says.

Darren hope there will be a resolution soon.

"It's like I am being punished for surviving cancer. I am a victim of surgical mesh, I did not choose to live this life," he sighs.

"I am in pain every day and there is no support system. I need a walking stick and am not able to stand or walk for more than 10 minutes, bend down or work.

"I would like to meet with Stephen Donnelly, Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin now so they can see first-hand what damage surgical mesh implants caused when it was put into me, a fit and strong man, turning me into an unfit, unhealthy, weak man with chronic pain 24 hours every day."

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