Specialists in vaginal mesh claims, Slee Blackwell provide an update on the law regarding vaginal mesh compensation.
In July 2018, the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists implemented high vigilance restrictions under the instruction of NHS Improvement and NHS England regarding the use of vaginal mesh after it became apparent that many women who had undergone surgery for transvaginal implants have suffered from ongoing problems resulting directly from the use of vaginal mesh. Restrictions that were implemented included prohibiting surgeons from undertaking vaginal mesh procedures unless they had received the appropriate training to carry out such procedures and ensuring that every vaginal mesh procedure undertaken should be recorded on a national database.
Draft NICE Guidelines published in October 2018 confirmed that “a full range of non-surgical options should be offered to women for stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse before any operations”. NICE Guidelines have confirmed that these options may include, physical therapies, behavioural therapies, pelvic floor training, topical oestrogen, lifestyle modification and intervention, pessary management and medicines.
Before this further guidance was implemented, many women had transvaginal tape or trans obturator tape fitted on the advice of their surgeon in an effort to help with ongoing problems involving stress urinary incontinence. However, for many women this was the start of further medical problems to come.
Where ladies are continuing to suffer with ongoing problems due to stress urinary incontinence or pelvic floor prolapse after non-surgical options have been considered, NICE Guidelines confirm that it is only then that surgical intervention using tape or vaginal mesh should be considered. However, before undergoing surgical intervention, ladies should be informed of all associated risks and side effects to allow them to give informed consent to the procedure. If ladies are not able to undergo the required treatment from their current consulting surgeon, they should be referred on to allow them to undergo the treatment that they wish.
Before being able provide informed consent to a vaginal mesh procedure, medical practitioners must make their patient aware of all risks and complications associated with the procedure, as set out in the ruling of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board. The medical practitioner must therefore discuss with their patient the management strategies of the procedure that they are due to undergo, together with any risks and implications of the procedure to allow them to consider their options in light of the high-quality information provided. Medical practitioners must discuss any alternative treatments that may be available to help with the patient’s problem and the consequences of not providing any treatment. Furthermore, medical practitioners must feel that their patient has fully understood the nature of the operation and possible risks before documenting the same and performing the operation.
Although the British Association of Urological Surgeons have confirmed that the use of transvaginal tape is a more established procedure, they have confirmed that it does come with higher risks of bladder injury and often results in poor emptying. However, this procedure comes with a smaller risk of chronic pelvic pain. On the other hand, the trans obturator tape procedure has been a more recently introduced procedure which carries a lower risk of injury to the bladder and emptying problems, but it does carry a higher risk of chronic pelvic pain.
If you feel that you were not provided with full high-quality information setting out the risks associated with your vaginal mesh procedure and you were not made aware of alternative treatment, you may be able to make a compensation claim.
Vaginal mesh claims involve consideration of all medical issues arising, such as urinary incontinence, anterior leg and buttock pain, discomfort during intercourse and irregular pain and swelling. Not only do these issues cause physical pain and discomfort but the vaginal mesh may also be impacting upon the patient's work and social life or costing them a fortune in sanitary products.
For many ladies, the insertion of vaginal mesh was supposed to be the answer to their problems. However, many of those who have had vaginal mesh fitted are now suffering from anxiety and confidence issues as they worry about leaking when they are out and are constantly looking for toilet facilities.
Many individuals who have had vaginal mesh removed via further surgical intervention have discovered that the vaginal mesh was incorrectly placed or has become intertwined in the vaginal wall which has led to further problems.
In order to bring a vaginal mesh claim, we must be able to show that the standard of care given by a medical professional has fallen below the “reasonable standard”. This could relate to the full investigations not being carried out in light of symptoms which are those within the eyes of a trained medical professional that could be linked with problems associated with vaginal mesh, such as incorrect placement of the mesh.
Furthermore, we must determine that you have suffered a demonstrable loss or injury as a result of your medical professional’s care falling below the “reasonable standard”.
If you think you may have a claim we will be happy to provide you with a case assessment entirely free of charge.
It is important to remember that you must bring your claim within a specified time period. In a clinical negligence claim this is three years from when you suffered injury, or you become aware of your problem. Therefore, it is important not to delay in seeking specialist legal advice.
If you have suffered problems due to vaginal mesh product, feel free to call our helpline team now on 0800 975 8091. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
we deal with gynaecology claims and vaginal mesh claims on a No Win, No Fee basis, so fear of legal costs should not deter anyone from seeking justice.