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Demand for public inquiry over use of “dangerous” vaginal mesh implants

Senior medical experts are demanding a public enquiry be opened to investigate the use of vaginal mesh implants in the U.K.

The Guardian reports that a “significant proportion of patients have been left with traumatic complications”. We ourselves are involved in the legal actions for the use of vaginal mesh implants where things have gone wrong, so we’re no stranger to the issues at hand.

However, as problems continue to arise, the calls for more investigation and more action continue to grow.

A vaginal mesh implant is designed to repair and strengthen the womb walls, preventing a prolapse of other organs collapsing into the womb, and preventing urinary incontinence. The highly invasive surgery fuses the mesh into the wall of the womb, but over time, we are seeing more and more complications that result in excruciating pain and discomfort. The mesh can fuse and erode into the patient’s flesh, and because its fixed in place, it’s reportedly impossible to remove the mesh material.

As such, women whose mesh implants have failed are often left with permanent lifelong injuries because the implants cannot be removed.

Comparisons drawn to the thalidomide scandal

Carl Heneghan, a University of Oxford professor in medicine, said that the situation is comparable to the thalidomide scandal whereby a German anti-sickness drug led to children being born with missing limbs. Official figures failed to reflect just how many risks there were, as well as the full extent of them.

Heneghan explained that “with thalidomide you could see the visual representation” through the deformed children. With mesh complications, the problems are not visual but rather on patient reports of pain and injury.

A widely used procedure

It’s understood that over 126,000 women have had vaginal meshes or similar procedures carried out between 2007 and 2016. Whilst many of these women may have had a quick and successful operation, there are a number of women who have been left with excruciating complications.

One woman, Carol Williams, revealed at a meeting she attended that she was suicidal after her surgery to treat pelvic prolapse resulted in multiple complications. Other women spoke out about the sharp pains, surgery to separate entangled organs, sex lives ruined and psychological scarring. The stress was further exacerbated by doctors, many of whom reportedly dismissed their complaints.

The risks of vaginal mesh implant surgery

With surgical operations, there will always be risks, and these risks need to be carefully considered in relation to the magnitude of harm. On top of this, patients need to be fully informed of exactly what could go wrong and the extent of the damage that can be caused.

Vaginal mesh operations appear to be resulting in serious complications for some victims; the consequences of which can be permanent.

Conflicting reports and information

Consultant Urogynecologist from the University College Hospital, Sohier Elneil, conducted some research and found that 8.9% of patients who have had surgery for urinary incontinence were reportedly re-admitted for a follow up procedure to correct a complication. Meanwhile, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reports that there is just a 1-2% risk of pain or complications.

A recent Lancet Medical Journal revealed a significantly highly statistic of 19%.

The statistics appear to be all over the place – hence the growing demand for an inquiry.

A lack of clarity

As a result of the conflicting data, patients may not be getting enough information about the risks of the procedure before consenting to surgery. As the operation is very invasive and carries potentially permanent adverse risks, patients must be properly warned about all associated risks they may be exposed to, as well as the likelihood of adverse reactions, and the full extent of complications.

If you’ve had a mesh implant or a similar procedure that has led to complications, resulting in further injury, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation. Whilst we understand that financial compensation cannot rectify the complications or the injuries suffered, it can go a long way to help people cope.

Injuries like the ones associated with vaginal mesh implants can effectively cripple a patient, making it hard to carry out simple tasks and enjoy a good standard quality of living.

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