Over 800 women are taking legal action against the NHS and manufacturers of vaginal mesh implants, including a client represented by Duncan Lewis Clinical Negligence Solicitors.
The plastic mesh implants are made of polypropylene and manufactured by several companies. They are intended to repair damaged or weakened tissue and used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence after childbirth. Although mesh implants have been used successfully in many other parts of the body, when inserted in the abdomen, the implants can react differently, cutting into the vagina. Implications of the mesh perforating into the vagina range from mild discomfort to debilitating and life-changing pain.
Complications with the mesh implant can cause a range of symptoms including severe and/or constant abdominal and vaginal pain, infections and bleeding, inability to engage in sexual intercourse and being unable to walk. As a result, victims often find themselves reliant on maximum-strength painkillers, with some suffering mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Many report little to no improvement to their symptoms of incontinence following the implant.
The mesh implants are prescribed on the NHS UK-wide despite warnings against their use. In 2014, the Scottish Government requested a suspension in their use by the NHS in Scotland due to pending safety investigations, following a campaign by the ‘Scottish Mesh Survivors’ and US compensation lawyer Alex Slater said “women are not told the truth” about the devices, drawing an analogy between the dangers of the mesh implants and those of asbestos.
Mesh implants are not the only option for women suffering from a prolapsed bladder and/or incontinence – non-surgical and surgical treatments not using implants can be offered. A study published in the UK Medical Journal the Lancet found that women who are fitted with mesh implants were approximately three times more likely to suffer complications, and twice as likely to require follow up surgery compared to women who had traditional surgery, where stitches instead of mesh are used. Worryingly, several women have reported that they were not informed of the risks of the mesh implant, nor of the fact that it was permanent.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) support the continued use of the vaginal mesh.
Mesh implants have been used on thousands of patients who have experienced no discomfort or symptoms at all. However, as we are aware, there are some who have suffered mesh erosion which has resulted in debilitating pain and life-changing injuries. In some instances, although patients are suffering from associated symptoms such as pain and bleeding, treating clinicians are causing unnecessary delays in identifying the cause.
If you have been fitted with a vaginal mesh implant and suffer any of the above (or other) symptoms as a result, you may be eligible to claim for compensation. Duncan Lewis Clinical Negligence solicitors will assist you in making a claim for negligence.
The Duncan Lewis Clinical Negligence team has significant experience acting in a vast array of claims including accident and emergency failures, GP negligence claims, misdiagnosed fractures and other medical conditions and wrongful death claims. They also act for children and adults who have suffered profound and permanent brain, spinal or neurological injuries and associated disabilities as a consequence of failings in medical care in both NHS and private hospitals. If you believe your treating clinician has made a mistake and wish to claim compensation or have any questions about treatment you have received, please do not hesitate to contact our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors on 0333 772 0409.