Lawyers Instructed After Patient Suffered ‘Years Of Pain’ Following Procedure
A Suffolk woman who was left traumatised and endured almost two years of severe pain after being fitted with a vaginal mesh implant instructed lawyers who have helped her gain justice regarding the ordeal by negotiating an undisclosed settlement on her behalf.
Jo Coghill, 54, from Woodbridge, was unable to sit down properly and at times could not even walk due to the pain she faced following the procedure at Ipswich Hospital, which was undertaken in July 2013 after she was diagnosed with stress incontinence.
She suffered for a year prior to seeking further medical advice to tackle the pain because she kept being told to give the surgery time to heal. She also told her legal team at Irwin Mitchell that she lost trust in those treating her at Ipswich Hospital and sought a second opinion on a private basis.
She managed to locate a surgeon who could remove the type of mesh she had inserted and after attending her private clinic it was confirmed that the mesh was eroding through the vaginal wall causing the pain and should be removed. It was also noted that she was having difficulty emptying her bladder and that this should have been recognised following the surgery in 2013.
Jo instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the standard of care she received from Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust in relation to the fitting of the mesh and to help her discover if more could have been done to prevent the suffering she had endured. Expert evidence confirmed that there were failures in care by those treating her at Ipswich Hospital and but for these failures Jo would have avoided the complications. It was also found that there was a delay in recognising symptoms of pain and difficulties emptying her bladder which prolonged her suffering.
Sarah Wealleans, the expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office who acted for Jo, said:
Expert Opinion“Vaginal mesh implants and issues related to them have been in the spotlight recently, with NHS records suggesting that one in 15 patients fitted with the most common mesh products subsequently need surgery due to complications.
“This is obviously a very serious concern and the ordeal that Jo has been through in the past few years demonstrates the devastating impact that problems with these implants can have on women. Thankfully, it seems to be recognised by the medical profession that there are concerns with the use of these implants and an audit of thousands of cases is to be undertaken with the results announced in April.
“We are pleased that our client has received the recognition that she deserves following what has been a very stressful period for her and her family. Whilst the compensation could never negate what she has been though, it goes someway to helping her put the ordeal behind her.” Sarah Wealleans - Senior Associate Solicitor
Jo, who is a legal assistant, has three children and following the birth of her third child she was diagnosed with stress incontinence in February 2013. While she had physiotherapy, further support was required and she was referred to a gynaecologist.
She recalls: “Following tests it was decided I should go ahead with the procedure for the mesh to be fitted, and I had an operation in July 2013. I have since found out information through the legal investigation that was never discussed with me.
“I am now determined to raise awareness of the complications of mesh implants in women contemplating this surgery.”
Jo has bravely decided to share her story in the hope that this raises awareness of the risks involved with this type of surgery and to give women who are suffering some hope that there may be help available to them.
Following the surgery Jo suffered extreme pain, discomfort and bleeding. She also had difficulty emptying her bowels.
Jo added: “The whole experience left me completely traumatised and I felt at times that if I sought help I would not be taken seriously. It was also difficult for me to go to a GP or hospital as going to such places left me really anxious after what I had been through.
“Eventually enough was enough and I told my GP I was still in significant pain. While I was referred back to hospital and offered pain support I was told it was too difficult to remove the mesh. After research eventually decided to get a second opinion on a private basis. That is when I was told the tape had almost eroded through my vaginal wall and required removal. I was relieved there was an explanation for the pain I had been suffering and something could be done to stop it.”
Jo underwent surgical removal of the vaginal mesh at University College London Hospital by Consultant Urogynaecologist Miss Sohier Elneilin March 2015 and has made a good recovery with complete resolution of the pain. She has had further surgery for stress incontinence which, as a secondary surgery, can have a reduced chance of success, but thankfully it has been successful.
She said: “While it was so pleasing to be able to have the issue corrected, all of these problems have caused me a huge amount of distress. I still get very emotional talking about everything I’ve been through.
“Considering everything I’ve faced, it is hugely worrying to see the scale of issues which are emerging with such meshes. Something clearly has to change and the safety of women has to come first.”