Why Have Incontinence Negligence Compensation Claims Soared?

One of the biggest recent stories in the world of medical negligence claims is for failing treatment for incontinence in women. A BBC report found that more than 800 women are claiming compensation from the NHS and the manufacturers of the different types of vaginal mesh used in the treatment, described by one of the victims as “barbaric”.

Injuries sustained include internal cuts, vaginal wall erosion, infection and intense and debilitating pain which has prevented women from living a normal life.

Vaginal mesh intends to help in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse after childbirth. There’s an insertion of the mesh, as it:

  • becomes a sling to support the bladder, uterus and urethra, and;
  • help prevent incontinence.

The mesh’s materials include polypropylene plastic. Moreover, there are around 100 different brands of mesh currently in use in the UK.

Nearly 100,000 implants over nine years

NHS England records show that, in an eight-year period between April 2007 and March 2015, over 92,000 women underwent a vaginal mesh implant. No surgery is without risk so does 800 out of 92,000 women (0.008%) indicate a problem? The victims and their medical negligence solicitors certainly think so.

There is nothing new about using mesh to treat prolapse, in fact. Such treatments were around for hernias starting in the 1950s. Moreover, it’s in use for the repair of pelvic organ prolapse, a process originating in the 1970s.

It’s not just the quality of the mesh that is causing the issues, either. In addition, the implanting itself presents its share of complications. For example, one Visco study shows there were more issues with vaginal implantation rather than through an abdominal incision.

Government regulation of incontinence negligence

There have been discussions about the safety of the procedure for some time. In June 2014, for instance, the Scottish health secretary suggests bringing an end to their use.

However, as of December 2016, a further 400 women in Scotland have had implantation of either mesh or tape. It’s the reason for the formation of Scottish Mesh Survivors, an organisation:

  • led by two women who suffered life-changing injuries as the result of their mesh implants and;
  • had the determination to make sure no more women suffer.

One of the biggest victories won by Scottish Mesh Survivors is the stricter protocol around gaining informed consent from patients. Surgeons are responsible for ensuring that their patients are fully informed of all risks associated with a particular treatment, as well as any alternative solutions and potentially adverse effect.

Not obtaining informed consent from a patient who later suffers illness or injury is grounds for a valid compensation claim.

Negligent vaginal mesh implants in the US have reached an estimated £2 billion in compensation. With the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency apparently having received 1,000 complaints to date, and the resulting publicity encouraging more women to come forward, it can be assumed that this area of medical negligence compensation claims is one that will continue to grow.

If you would like to talk to a legal expert, then feel free to contact The Medical Negligence Experts here.

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