AUSTRALIA’S peak body for obstetricians and gynaecologists has declined to answer questions raised during an inquiry into pelvic mesh devices to “protect” a leading specialist from other obstetricians and gynaecologists.
The inquiry into controversial pelvic mesh devices has exposed deep divisions between a small number of specialists who support a surgical theory developed in Western Australia in the late 1980s, and the majority of Australian obstetricians and gynaecologists.
In a letter in February Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Steve Robson advised the Senate inquiry that the college would make no further public statements about the “integral theory” after college member Professor Chris Benness gave evidence in 2017 about pelvic mesh surgery for women.
The college declined to answer questions on notice about the theory.
“Subsequent to our appearance before the Senate inquiry, the college received correspondence from proponents of the so-called ‘integral theory’ that was of such a nature that I wish to protect Professor Benness from further negative contact,” Professor Robson said.
“As president of RANZCOG I do not wish the college or any person acting on behalf of the college to make any further public statement on the integral theory.”
The Senate inquiry on pelvic mesh devices implanted in women after childbirth is scheduled to table its report in Federal Parliament on March 20. The report will be made public only weeks after Johnson & Johnson withdrew its “gold standard” incontinence pelvic mesh slings from the Australian market after devastating evidence from women at a Senate inquiry and a Federal Court class action.
In evidence to the Senate inquiry in September Sydney proctologist Darren Gold said integral theory inventor Dr Peter Petros had been “vilified, ostracized and tormented for daring to contradict the established thinking” on women’s pelvic surgery.
“In any other country he would have already been awarded a Nobel Prize; here he gets destroyed,” Dr Gold said.
But the inquiry heard evidence from women who blamed his procedure for “their crippling condition”, Senator Derryn Hinch said.
The inquiry heard evidence from former champion Australian basketballer and Newcastle Falcons player Paul Zadow, whose Adelaide company website said its Tissue Fixation System pelvic mesh device was based on Dr Petros’s integral theory which “set the foundation for a new approach to treatment of female pelvic floor dysfunction”. Mr Zadow is appealing the device’s deregistration in 2014.