Recently there has been considerable, well-deserved media coverage about injuries following mesh implants for women suffering prolapse. Journalist Joanne McCarthy at the Newcastle Herald has been doing a wonderful job in bringing the issues to light for the general public.
At Catherine Henry Lawyers, our health lawyers have successfully run a number of claims involving mesh implants over the last five years and we are receiving an increasing number of enquiries.
Our experience shows that there are two broad categories of problems or concerns.
The first relates to allegations that the tape or mesh was not suitable for the purpose for which it was intended and should never have been available for use in such procedures. These claims generally fall within the ambit of a class action.
The second subset of women is those who have undergone a tape or mesh procedure where the negligence arises from the way in which the procedure has been performed by the doctor. It is the women falling into this group who may bring individual claims.
Catherine Henry Lawyers has conducted claims arising from the following circumstances:
- where the procedure to place the mesh or tape was performed incorrectly;
- where there were complications during or after the procedure that were not dealt with appropriately or were not recognised in a timely manner;
- where the procedure was not warranted or not clinically appropriate for the woman in question;
- where the risks and complications of the procedure were not properly explained to the woman undergoing the procedure i.e. there was no, or inadequate, consent.
It is of significant concern that we have received multiple enquiries regarding particular doctors, Drs Reid and Petros. Joanne McCarthy has reported on these doctors in her articles in the Newcastle Herald. These doctors have been associated with a particular mesh product used for prolapse – “Tissue Fixation System” (TFS) – which has come under increased, though sadly delayed, scrutiny by the Australian Therapeutic Drugs Administration.
Dr Petros was previously sued in Western Australia. In that case the judge found for the injured woman and stated in his judgment, “the defendant . . . was concerned to extol what he perceived to be the many advantages of the . . . procedure rather than to point out, in a balanced and neutral manner, both possible beneficial and adverse outcomes and risks”. This approach seems to be echoed in the stories of the women who are coming to us for advice.
The women seeking our advice on the potential for legal redress are frequently suffering extensive injuries, may have undergone multiple surgeries and are often left with horrific pain and debilitating symptoms.
We believe there are also a number of women in the community who are too traumatised by their ongoing pain and dysfunction or too embarrassed to talk about such a sensitive issue and have therefore not sought legal advice.
We urge you to read more of Joanne McCarthy’s excellent coverage of this important issue. Here are the relevant links.
- Hunter women join a class action suit
- Mesh implant field lacks rules: surgeon
- Dr Richard Reid suspended after NSW Medical Council hearing
- Implant Specialist Appeals Against Medical Council Caution
- US Discipline for Surgeon
- Medical mesh concerns raised
- Australian prolapse mesh device manufacturer tells regulator it “documented” mesh changes
- Regulator failed women on mesh
- Watchdog focuses on mesh
By Belinda Epstein