Hundreds of women are suing the creators of mesh vaginal implants and the NHS after suffering substantial pain using them.
More than 800 women have reportedly been left unable to work, walk or have sex after the medical devices – used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence – cut into their vaginas. They allege that they weren’t warned about the risks by surgeons and manufacturers. They have started legal action against the NHS and manufacturers of the product, such as Johnson & Johnson.
According to a BBC analysis - based off NHS data - around nine per cent of the 92,000 women who had vaginal mesh implants in England between April 2007 and March 2015 have experienced problems.
BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme spoke to one woman who mentioned how the mesh had “cut its way through - like a cheese wire”. She said she gave up work as a childminder because the pain left her unable to look after the children, and had been admitted to hospital 53 times to try to end the pain. She said she now lives in permanent discomfort as surgeons have been unable to fully remove the mesh.
Meanwhile, another woman said she was left contemplating suicide and has had to rely on her husband for care because of the severity of the pain.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) “sympathises” with the women and said it is committed to addressing their concerns. It added that, for the majority, the implants remained safe and effective.
More than 400 women in Scotland are taking legal action after an independent review published in March said implants should not be routinely offered and only feature as part of an “informed choice”. This review was accepted by Holyrood.
There are currently 100 types of vaginal mesh implant available in the UK, but none have yet to be recalled.