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Mesh used against hospital’s instructions and without informed consent

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Access Legal Solicitors is concluding another case following mesh surgery performed by uro-gynaecologist, Mr Arunkalaivanan (Mr Arun) who ignored Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust instructions given in 2009 to stop using synthetic mesh as a first-option surgical treatment to repair pelvic floor prolapses.

Our client, ‘Jane’ was referred to City Hospital, Birmingham in 2010. After the birth of her first child, she began to suffer painful and heavy periods and pain during sex. Following the birth of her third child she began to suffer incontinence when sneezing and coughing and pain when urinating.

Mr Arun diagnosed a prolapsed uterus and recommended an operation using trans-vaginal mesh (TVM). He explained that if the prolapse was left untreated, it would be harmful to her, but like similar cases, did not offer her any other treatment options, simply advising her not to have any more children.

Jane accepted Mr Arun’s advice and underwent surgery later that year, however it did not resolve her problem of incontinence and she was in more pain after the operation that she had been beforehand. Jane then unexpectedly became pregnant with her fourth child and was worried about the safety of her pregnancy after Mr Arun’s warnings. This baby had to be delivered by caesarean section (her three older children had been delivered naturally) because it was not thought to be safe to try for a natural delivery with the mesh in place.

Jane was subsequently advised by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust that she should not have been offered TVM surgery by Mr Arun as the Trust had decided to stop this type of surgery a year earlier. Mr Arun had breached the Trust’s policy when he offered and performed this surgery on Jane in 2010.

In 2017 Jane had a second operation to remove some of the vaginal mesh which has helped to reduce her incontinence and pain. Jane turned to Access Legal Solicitors for help and advice, where her case was handled by Lucy Adams, a specialist solicitor in the firm’s clinical negligence department, who listened to her story.

Lucy was able to advise Jane that Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has admitted that Mr Arun should not have performed that particular surgery on Jane and had set up a special scheme to achieve settlement of cases involving treatment by Mr Arun as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Using her years of experience of quantifying complex injury cases, Lucy is now working with the Trust to achieve a settlement to compensate Jane for the years she suffered with pain and incontinence as a result of Mr Arun’s decision to act outside of the Trust’s clearly stated policy and the fact that, as in other cases, Jane was never given any information about the alternatives that were available.

Lucy said:

‘This procedure was clearly not appropriate in Jane’s case and in any event, had she known that City Hospital had decided to stop using mesh in 2009, she maintains she would never have agreed to the operation recommended in 2010. At no point could Jane have been said to have given her informed consent to a procedure (a procedure that her surgeon had been instructed not to use a year earlier) since she was not provided with information about any of the other options that may in fact have suited her better.’

Our client added:

‘After the operation my quality of life really suffered. I was almost housebound because I was worried that I might have an accident and wet myself if I couldn’t get to a toilet in time. The pain I was in also made it difficult for me to do day-to-day things like take the children to school, go shopping or even visit friends. It’s only since I had the second operation in 2017 and all the help I have had from Lucy and Access Legal Solicitors that I feel like I’m able to start getting my life back to normal.’

Note: The pseudonym ‘Jane’ has been used at our client’s request to protect our client’s identity.

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