Over the last few decades, surgical mesh was commonly prescribed by the NHS to treat a wide range of conditions.
Unfortunately, many patients who were given surgical mesh implants suffered complications following their treatment – with the side effects often having a devastating impact on their quality of life.
Due to safety concerns, the use of surgical mesh was suspended in 2018, and official advice states that it should no longer be used except in very specific scenarios.
As one of the UK’s leading clinical negligence law firms, Thompsons has long supported the brave campaigners who have worked tirelessly to bring an end to mesh implants in the UK. We have also represented hundreds of people seeking compensation for being treated with these unsafe medical devices.
What is a mesh implant?
Surgical mesh is a net-like material which is implanted into the body to support weak and damaged tissue.
Surgical mesh implants come in different forms depending on the usage – from ‘tape’ designs, to ‘sling’ and ‘hammock’ shaped implants.
Surgical mesh implants can be made from synthetic materials or animal products.
Types of mesh surgery performed by the NHS
Vaginal mesh surgery
The NHS has a history of using vaginal mesh implants, including transvaginal tape (TVT), to support weak and damaged tissue within the vaginal area. Various factors can damage tissue in this area, including hysterectomy procedures, childbirth, and menopause.
Rectal mesh surgery
Rectal prolapses have also been treated with surgical mesh under the NHS. Rectal prolapse can be triggered by childbirth, a damaged pudendal nerve, constipation, or conditions that cause excess coughing, such as cystic fibrosis.
Pelvic mesh surgery
Pelvic organ prolapse is another condition that has been commonly treated with surgical mesh. The condition is characterised by the bulging of one or more of the pelvic organs (uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder).
Stress urinary incontinence
Mesh has also been used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which is when urine leaks out due to sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra, for example when you sneeze or cough.
What are the most common issues caused by mesh surgery?
Unfortunately, there are many complications that can occur following a mesh procedure.
Mesh patients may develop the following symptoms:
- Increased pain and fever due to infection
- Bleeding or discharge
- Pelvic pain or swelling
- Recurrent or new bladder or bowel symptoms
- Prickling feeling or pain, which may be exacerbated by exercise
- Buttock or leg pain
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse.
Many mesh patients we have represented have been left in extreme pain, suffering from incontinence and unable to be sexually active – symptoms which have a significant effect on their quality of life.
A patient with a suspected mesh-related problem should undergo a physical examination to identify any of the following signs:
- Tenderness on palpating the mesh
- Mesh exposure (erosion) into the treated area
- Adhesions and/or scarring
- Failure of the surgery and recurrence of prolapse.
Can I make a mesh claim against the NHS?
Yes, you may be able to claim against the NHS if you can prove medical negligence.
If you aren’t sure if you can prove medical negligence, call our mesh experts for free, no-obligation legal advice – they will be able to tell you if you have a claim.
Can I claim if my mesh implant surgery was performed by a private hospital?
Yes. Private hospitals have performed a large number of mesh implant surgeries. Whether the mesh surgery was funded by the NHS or privately, you can still make a claim.
Our firm has successfully secured significant compensation for hundreds of people who have suffered medical negligence in the care of private healthcare providers.
What types of mesh claim can be made in the UK?
There are hundreds of people in the UK who are living with serious health complications due to mesh surgery. There are a number of reasons why you may qualify for compensation for a mesh injury under UK law, including the following types of claims:
1. Product defect claims
The UK has seen a number of mesh lawsuits for defective products. It may be possible to make a claim based on a defective mesh implant if you received one of the following brands of mesh:
- TVT Secur.
2. Claims for lack of treatment choice
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend that patients should be offered a three-month trial of pelvic floor muscle training before surgical mesh surgery. If your doctor neglected to offer you this, you could make a claim.
3. Claims for lack of informed consent
You may be entitled to claim compensation if you were given the wrong information or weren't made aware of all options available to you. According to NICE guidelines, patients must have been involved in the decision-making process.
If your surgeon inserted the mesh implant incorrectly, you may be able to make a malpractice claim. This is because inserting the tape in the wrong place can lead to the mesh moving away from its intended position, resulting in severe pain.
How much does it cost to make a mesh claim?
When you make a medical negligence claim with Thompsons, we will provide legal advice and representation on a no win, no fee basis. This means you only pay if your compensation claim is successful, in which case you’ll never pay more than 25% of your compensation including all fees and charges.
How much compensation can I claim?
Our team of expert clinical negligence solicitors will evaluate your claim based on the seriousness of the injury, and how it’s affected your life.
Physical injuries are classed as ‘general damages’, while ‘special damages’ refer to any costs you’ve incurred, such as travel for medical appointments or time off work.
Our lawyers will examine every possible factor to help secure the full amount of compensation you deserve, including compensation for:
- Physical and psychological injury
- Any adjustments to the home to meet your healthcare needs
- Time off work
- Any costs incurred, such as travel to medical appointments
- Long-term changes to your lifestyle, such as your sex life.
There is no set compensation amount for mesh claims, but we can refer to the Judicial Board Guidelines for estimated figures on organ damage as a rough guide:
- Loss of bowel function compensation claims can be worth as much as £119,000
- Injuries to the bladder can be worth as much as £112,000
- Chronic pain compensation claims can be worth as much as £50,000.
In some cases, we may also be able to arrange interim payments which are payable before your claim is settled. These form a small sum of your total payout.
How long after my mesh implant surgery can I claim?
Medical negligence claims, including vaginal mesh claims or rectal mesh claims, must be made within three years of the date you could have reasonably known that your injury was a result of the mesh procedure.
The time would commence from when a diagnosis has been made by a GP or any other medical professional that the mesh is the cause of your problems.
As a result, even if you underwent mesh surgery several years ago, you may still be eligible to start a mesh compensation claim if you have only recently started experiencing side effects, or have not long been told that the mesh is causing your issues.
How to make a mesh claim
The first step to making a claim is speaking to one of our clinical negligence lawyers. They will provide you with free, no-obligation legal advice and let you know if you have a case. Request a call back or call us free today.