Caroline Webber-Brown, a solicitor specialising in mesh surgery claims, looks at the latest study on transvaginal mesh surgery and how patients have been let down.
A report by Glasgow Caledonian University has concluded that women who had mesh surgery did not receive accurate information before undergoing the life-altering procedure.
The University’s Transvaginal Mesh Case Record Review spent two years examining the cases of women who had received mesh implants to treat conditions arising from childbirth, such as incontinence and prolapse.
The report also says that poor communication between patients and doctors has led, in some cases, to a climate of mistrust arising.
In addition, the researchers found that patient’s medical notes were often misleading or failed to detail the surgery that had been performed, or its outcomes.
The team behind the review is now calling for a comprehensive register to be set up to keep track of women who have had operations to remove mesh, along with improved post-operative aftercare and improved communications.
The academic leading the research said that all patients are entitled to receive accurate information before any treatment is decided upon and to be advised on its effectiveness and consequences.
“If clear and commonly understood language had been used to explain to women potential treatments and outcomes, even if these were uncertain prior to surgery, this may have alleviated many of the issues that subsequently arose over the course of their clinical journey.
“In a number of the cases, we observed a lack of clarity in the case records documenting the nature and potential outcome of mesh revision surgery. Some notes were misleading, but other cases did not bear any reflection to the surgery that had occurred, nor its outcomes. These matters may have not come to light, without the commissioning of the review.”
Over a period of 20 years, more than 100,000 women in the UK received transvaginal mesh implants. While the vast majority of women have not suffered any side effects, a sizeable minority have, and legal action is being taken by many of the women affected. Use of the procedure has been paused by the NHS unless there is no other suitable option.