The rise in vaginal mesh-implant claims of medical negligence continues to make headlines, the withdrawal of a London Mayor candidate being the latest case.
Sue Black, the Women’s Equality party’s candidate for London Mayor, was forced to withdraw from the race as a result of complications from a vaginal mesh implant.
You may have seen on the likes of BBC, ITV, Sky News and more – as well as in the newspapers – about the plight of the thousands of women who have been fitted with the trans-vaginal mesh for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
According to the NHS, between 2008-09 and 2016-17, 100,516 patients had a reported tape insertion procedure for stress urinary incontinence and a further 27,016 patients had a mesh fitted for urogynaecological prolapse. Hundreds of women are now getting them removed.
Professor Black is now calling on the Government to completely ban vaginal mesh.
Speaking in an interview for The Telegraph, she said: “like thousands of women across the UK, I was told that a vaginal mesh would be a quick, easy solution to the problems with stress urinary incontinence that I suffered with after the birth of my fourth child. I took my doctor’s advice and underwent this ‘simple’ procedure, which I later discovered had never been properly tested before it was ‘aggressively hustled’ onto the market and into women’s bodies….”
After a trans-vaginal tape implant following the birth of her fourth child, Black was treated but years later was found to be suffering complications from the mesh having shrunk and hardened. Medical scans showed it was cutting through her urethra, and further operations left her suffering from anaemia.
Black, a leading computer scientist and government adviser, added to The Guardian: “I’m really frustrated because I can’t go on to do what I wanted to. It’s devastating. We need to make sure women know how detrimental this can be for their health.”
For years, women who had the mesh fitted had been complaining of abdominal/vaginal pain, neuropathic pain, difficulty in walking, bleeding or infections and pain on intercourse. Many have subsequently undergone further surgery, which has found problems arising from mesh erosion and nerve damage caused by the surgeon following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Sylvia Taylor, a Clinical Negligence legal specialist at Tilly Bailey & Irvine, says: “For years, thousands of women have suffered as a result of this operation, but with no indication that the outcome could have been negative, or even life-changing.
“These pains have been ignored and dismissed by the medical profession.
“The likelihood is that the women were told that undergoing the procedure would cure or improve their stress urinary incontinence and that it was a procedure that would allow them to go home the same day. Even after undergoing the procedure, if a complaint of pain had been made soon after, it is unlikely that the surgeon would have considered that the pain was due to the mesh.”