The Impact of TVT Complications8th Feb 2018
If you’ve lived with stress incontinence then you’ll know how frustrating – and a little bit embarrassing – life can be.
Stress (urinary) incontinence can effect both men and women – although more likely women – for a number of reasons including infections, weakened bladder muscles or complications from surgery.
Stress incontinence makes the seemingly innocuous acts of everyday life like laughing or coughing riddled with anxiety born from an entirely reasonable desire not to soil oneself.
Where it becomes unreasonable is the change in behaviour that kind of challenge can bring. Training yourself not to laugh or cough for fear of an embarrassing accident does not make for a happy or comfortable life.
That’s assuming you can or you would even want to.
Although a number of treatments exist, over the last decade tension-free vaginal tape became increasingly popular due to its lack of invasiveness.
All that’s required is two small incisions on the abdomen and one on the inside of the vagina. The mesh sling is then anchored between these two points, supporting the pelvic organs.
TVT seemed like an entirely logical solution to the problem and promised to alleviate the symptoms of stress incontinence, allowing the individual a sense of control over their bodily functions once more.
In a lot of cases the procedure was and is successful, eliminating or greatly reducing the symptoms of stress incontinence to the point that the individual is able to lead a normal life with no ill effects whatsoever.
However for many women – and some men – the reality is quite different.
The Impact of TVT
Aside from no guarantees that TVT will address the individual’s stress incontinence, it brings with it a host of risks including bladder perforation, haematoma, severe bleeding and breakdown of the mesh itself into the vagina.
However, patients have also reported agonising groin and leg pain, bleeding, permanent nerve damage, organ erosion, loss of sexual function and a string of healthcare associated infections.
Chrissy Brajcic – an anti-vaginal mesh campaigner – died of sepsis in December 2017 following complications of her own failed TVT procedure.
Born in Canada and a mother of two, Chrissy suffered chronic infections following the procedure 4 years prior to her death which left her bedridden, in constant pain, and in the end her immune system was powerless to fight off an antibiotic resistant infection.
Chrissy passed away just weeks after NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommended a ban on mesh for the treatment of prolapse.
Most medical data reports that post-op complications sit at between 1.5 and 3%, however, 5.9% of women were readmitted for follow up procedures and 9.8% of women experience enduring complications within 5 years, although the majority will develop them inside of 2 years.
In 2016 roughly 4.4% of women had their TVT removed altogether citing intolerable complications, despite the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) receiving a tiny number of complaints.
It’s hardly surprising that patients refer themselves to their GP or the hospital that performed the procedure rather than reporting their pain and suffering to a governing body they have likely never heard of and are powerless to do anything to correct it.
It’s extremely telling that a number of manufacturers have withdrawn TVT and other similar products from sale. Whether or not the manufacturers knew how severe the complications could be will be the subject a government ordered national audit and a Scottish independent inquiry.
Some have accused the MHRA of a cover-up by trying to hide a TVT whistleblowing method inside a broader model for the NHS as a whole, effectively concealing where and how often complications resulting from TVT procedures occurred.
Again, only time will tell if this is true, but there is no denying the profound harm the growing global scandal has done to the reputations of medical institutions, big pharma and regulators.
If it transpires that the full side effects were kept secret then a case could be made that thousands of women went ahead with the procedure without informed consent. If this turns out to be the case the financial implications to medical institutes around the world will be staggering.
This is likely of little comfort to the victims of botched TVT procedures but at least others can be spared the same suffering.
What If I’ve Been Affected?
If you or someone close to you has experienced side effects following a TVT procedure then you may be entitled to make a claim.
Thousands of women have been affected by tension-free vaginal tape – some in profoundly life altering ways. Although money won’t take the pain away or – in the most extreme cases – allow someone to walk again, it can go towards offsetting the damage the procedure has wrought.
In a great many instances the victim has had to give up work, putting undue strain on family finances. It has derailed holidays, crippled marriages and prevented mothers from lifting their children in their arms.
All of which has an emotional cost that can – and should – be offset by financial recompense on the part of those responsible.
If you believe that you are entitled to claim get in touch to speak to our specialist TVT solicitor Lydia Barnett.
Be aware though that you need to claim either within 3 years of the procedure or the first time you noticed a problem.
We also recommend you make a formal complaint against the hospital in question. Although this won’t get you compensation, it can support you case.
In all instances we will be honest with you about your chances of success and take you through the entire process so you can enter into any proceedings with all the facts.
Book a free initial chat today and get the compensation you deserve.