Gill experienced severe pain, chronic diarrhoea, weight loss and loss of appetite after having rectopexy surgery
A woman from Newcastle is calling on the government to ban mesh implants following her own suffering as a result of the procedure, and is encouraging other women to come forward if they have suffered similar symptoms.
Gill Hedley, from Throckley in Newcastle upon Tyne, had rectopexy surgery in 2013 at Royal Victoria Infirmary Newcastle after suffering a rectal prolapse.
One year after her surgery, in October 2014, Gill experienced chronic diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss and pain in her lower back, abdomen and pelvis. Doctors investigated for bowel cancer and although the results were clear, her symptoms deteriorated.
Following further tests in January 2016, an embedded stitch around the mesh, thought to be causing her symptoms as a result of internal infection, was removed. However, the mesh remained infected, leading Gill to develop pelvic infection and sepsis.
Gill had a loop colostomy formed in February 2017 but her symptoms worsened.
Eventually, in July 2017, Gill had surgery to remove the mesh and it was found that some of the mesh was actually stuck in her body. The surgery left micro-holes in her vaginal wall. Her rectum was so damaged that it needed removal and she now has a permanent colostomy.
What is ventral mesh rectopexy?
Ventral mesh rectopexy is an operation in which the rectum (the part of the bowel that is nearest to the anus) is put back into its normal position in the body. It is an operation performed on patients with:
• An external rectal prolapse
• An internal prolapse (aka rectal intussusception)
• A rectocele (bowel bulging into the vagina)
• Symptoms of obstructive defecation
In most cases, the lower part of the bowel (rectum) is released from the back wall of the vagina and mesh is fastened to the front of the rectum using stitches.
“I've had to move to a smaller property because I cannot work due to my health problems caused by the mesh,” said Gill. “My mental health is really suffering, too. I’m in financial crisis and have constant physical pain, all of which I’m suffering unnecessarily. I have had to have a further operation as my incision wound became infected and I currently have a wound that has to be packed and dressed every two days.
“I feel really let down by the government who seem to be ignoring this issue: mesh surgery needs to be banned from use in the UK, for good.”
Maya Patel, medical negligence specialist at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Unfortunately my client’s experience is an increasingly common one and we are extremely concerned that there are many more women out there, like Gill, suffering alone. The information given to patients about the complications associated with mesh implants is a postcode lottery in the UK. Too many women are given little or no information.
“We’re urging anyone who has a mesh implant to seek medical guidance if they are experience any of Gill’s symptoms, and also encourage them to speak to an independent solicitor about whether they have a case. Thompsons is working for hundreds of victims across the country suffering from complications and injuries as result of mesh surgery and are committed to supporting anyone affected.”
"The information given to patients about the complications associated with mesh implants is a postcode lottery in the UK."
Concerned about negligent medical treatment or diagnoses? Talk to us for advice and support today.
Our discrete and compassionate medical negligence solicitors are experienced in the full range of medical injury claims and will work with you to establish whether you have a medical negligence compensation claim.
If you, or a loved one, think you have suffered medical negligence, such as a birth injury (for example, a cerebral palsy diagnosis following a difficult birth), misdiagnosis (such as cancer misdiagnosis), or suffered negligence during an operation contact us for advice.
If the incident happened more than three years ago, you will usually not be able to make a claim for compensation. However, exceptions do apply – such as instances where you could not have reasonably known your symptoms were caused by clinical negligence, or cases involves adults who lack legal capacity or children – so contact us for advice.
For further information, visit our How to Make A Compensation Claim page.