A former nurse from Whitstable secured compensation after mesh implant surgery in 2016, which left her in daily pain.
The 62-year-old underwent the procedure after suffering from mild stress incontinence when exercising. She had previously performed pelvic floor exercises to strengthen her muscles, but the incontinence returned soon after.
The woman, Mrs H, who wishes to remain anonymous, was referred to Kent and Canterbury Hospital in June 2016, where she had tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) surgery. TVT surgery is a procedure performed on women, usually under general anaesthetic, during which a piece of medical mesh is placed under the urethra, like a sling, to keep it in place.
Following the surgery, Mrs H suffered bladder perforation and erosion of the mesh which led to significant pain – especially when using the toilet – and she developed recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
A later investigation found that the TVT had been inserted incorrectly, causing recurring pain and infections. It was also found that, while she was warned of the risk of bladder perforation, she was not advised about the risk of mesh erosion or that it could lead to pain while urinating and having sex.
“Had I known there was a risk of mesh erosion that could leave me in daily pain, there’s no way I would have agreed to TVT” she said. “There was never any discussion around alternative treatments. I felt like I was kept completely in the dark.”
She turned to Thompsons Solicitors to make a mesh compensation claim. Thompsons has a long history of representing people mistreated by healthcare professionals and supports more than 400 women and men left permanently injured following mesh surgery across the UK.
During the legal claim, it was found that she may have been a candidate for other approved, longer-established procedures, such as a colposuspension or fascial sling.
She added: “If I had known about these options, I would have considered them. With what I know now, I would have probably opted against surgery altogether. You were made to feel that mesh was the only answer, but it has created more problems.
“If it wasn’t for my legal team, I’m not sure what I would have done. My solicitor, Warinder, supported me through the process of my claim, explaining every step and responding quickly to any concerns I had. I feel fortunate, too, that I was able to be referred to a specialist at Eastbourne Hospital who could remove the section of the tape that was causing my problem.
“After feeling completely let down, it was a huge help to have these specialists fighting my corner, and Thompsons ensured the health board was held accountable for its mistakes.”
Thompsons Solicitors supported the client in securing a settlement through a Vaginal Mesh Claims Handling Agreement, a fast-track legal scheme for patients injured by mesh on the NHS.
The legal firm has set up similar agreements for patients injured at Spire Healthcare, including the hundreds of women whose lives have been impacted by surgery performed by Anthony Dixon in Bristol.
Warinder Juss, a personal injury specialist at national law firm Thompsons Solicitors who represented the woman, said: “Mesh continues to blight the lives of so many women across the UK.
“The fact that the surgery was both botched and done without full consent should be shocking, but sadly we know from experience that this is all too common. Like Mrs H, many mesh clients we deal with across the UK say they wouldn’t have agreed to invasive surgery if they knew the full facts.
“We’re glad we’ve been able to secure a settlement for our client to reflect the pain and suffering she has endured and will continue to fight for everyone affected by mesh surgery.”