Vaginal Mesh Lawyers in British Columbia
Pelvic floor disorders affects nearly one out of four women, according to the National Institute of Health. Symptoms of such disorders include incontinence, discomfort, and having to limit daily activities. Transvaginal mesh is one option for treatment, although vaginal mesh does have its own set of complications. This net-like implant is used to support weakened muscles and ligaments, or is implanted to support the bladder neck or urethra, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If you have suffered any type of injury or medical complication from surgically placed vaginal mesh, a British Columbia lawyer may be of assistance to you in your quest for financial compensation. This financial compensation can be used to pay for any past or future medical expenses that you have had or will have, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and more. The vaginal mesh injury lawyers of Preszler Injury Lawyers have vast experience helping clients pursue personal injury claims and lawsuits against negligent vaginal mesh manufacturers, and can help you turn the page on this upsetting time in your life.
What are Pelvic Floor Disorders and What are the Signs and Symptoms?
There are two types of pelvic floor disorders for which transvaginal mesh can be a form of treatment. The first is called pelvic organ prolapse, or POP. Pelvic floor prolapse is caused by the weakening of the ligaments and muscles that support a woman’s pelvic organs. This can cause the pelvic organs to move out of place or “prolapse.” The other type of pelvic floor disorder that vaginal mesh is used for is called stress urinary incontinence or SUI. This common type of pelvic floor disorder causes the sudden and unintentional loss of urine when the patient coughs, sneezes, runs, or lifts a heavy object. This physical activity puts stress on the bladder, which vaginal mesh can help alleviate. Additionally, some women suffer from vaginal vault prolapse following a hysterectomy. When the uterus is removed, the vagina may collapse on itself.
How Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Stress Urinary Incontinence are Treated with Vaginal Mesh
Pelvic organ prolapse is treated with surgery and the placement of vaginal mesh on the weakened vaginal wall. Surgery is performed through the abdominal wall or through the vagina. Stress urinary incontinence is treated by surgically placing vaginal mesh through the vagina to support the urethra or bladder neck. This type of treatment is termed a mesh sling procedure or a mid-urethral sling. For vaginal vault prolapse caused by a hysterectomy, vaginal mesh is sewn into connective tissues on top of the vagina to secure it in place.
What Exactly is Vaginal Mesh?
Vaginal mesh is made of a polypropylene—a common type of plastic, and is formed into a mesh, or net-like, pliable sheet with tiny holes. However, some types of vaginal mesh use other materials, such as animal tissue, according to Drug Watch. Many vaginal meshes are non-absorbable, meaning that they are placed in the body permanently, while others are absorbed over a relatively short time period. In the 1950s, hernia mesh was used to repair hernias by supporting the weakened muscle walls from re-opening. Two decades later, hernia mesh was slightly altered to create vaginal mesh. In the 1970s, surgeons simply cut the hernia mesh to fit the size and shape needed, and implanted in their patients. Not long after, medical device manufacturers saw a market for specifically designed vaginal mesh, and began selling vaginal mesh “kits” to doctors. In the kits were various size and shapes of vaginal mesh, tools to insert the mesh, and a manual of how to use the devices. Some physicians believe that this do-it-yourself procedure and manual is responsible for many of the issues caused by vaginal mesh. Nevertheless, vaginal mesh continues to cause problems today.
Vaginal Mesh is a High-Risk Product, Yet is Still Widely Used in Canada
The serious medical complications surrounding vaginal mesh have been known for many years, but this has not stopped hundreds of thousands of surgeons from using vaginal mesh on Canadian women. Discomfort and minor pain are common for a few days after transvaginal mesh surgery. Bleeding in the hours after surgery is also not unheard of. Recovery is typically fast, with most women being able to leave the hospital in a matter of a few days, and then return to all normal activities within one to three months. Even sexual intercourse can be resumed within this time period. Yet, some women suffer serious complications that can lead to traumatic pain and life-long injury.
Even though transvaginal mesh surgery is less intensive and simpler than traditional forms of pelvic floor surgery, the risks are much higher. In fact, the percentage of patients who suffer from adverse complications range from 7% to as high as 21%. Depending on the type of surgery and mesh used, complication risks are even higher. In fact, one study found that 40% of women suffered chronic pain after the placement of a transobturator sling used to treat stress urinary incontinence. Some of the many risks of vaginal mesh include the following:
- Vaginal mesh erosion. The most common type of complication, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is caused when non-absorbable vaginal mesh breaks down or wears away. When this occurs, pieces of the vaginal mesh can protrude through the vagina;
- Pain during sexual intercourse;
- Vaginal scarring;
- Vaginal mesh shortening. This is caused when the mesh contracts over time, pulling on the vagina and causing pain, discomfort, and tightening;
- Vaginal shrinkage caused by scar tissue;
- Nerve damage;
- Emotional damage;
- Neuromuscular problems;
- Urinary problems;
- Organ perforation or the tearing of organs;
- Infection; and
- Return of the original pelvic floor disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of a Dysfunctioning Vaginal Mesh Surgery
If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms of transvaginal mesh complications, you may need to see a doctor as soon as possible. A lawyer may be able to help you recoup the medical costs, lost wages, and other damages that this vaginal mesh surgery has caused you. Common signs of transvaginal mesh complications include the following:
- Pain in the lower abdomen, groin, thigh, buttock, or pelvic that is not improving or going away;
- Difficulty emptying the bladder;
- Pain during urination;
- Bladder infections;
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge;
- A prickling sensation in the pelvic area;
- Spasms in the pelvic area;
- Swelling or abscess at the mesh exit or intersection areas;
- The mesh is felt through the vaginal wall either by the woman or her partner during sexual intercourse; or
- Pain for either person during sexual intercourse.
Transvaginal Mesh Surgeries: Recommendations from Healthy Canadians, Government of Canada
- Vaginal Mesh Used for Pelvic Organ Prolapse: According to Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts, the use of transvaginal mesh for pelvic organ Prolapse (POP) carries a higher risk than traditional types of pelvic floor surgeries. The government points out that POP can successfully be treated without the use of vaginal mesh, and warns that vaginal mesh may necessitate further surgeries down the road, and irreparable damage in some cases. Surgeons must have adequate training, experience, and familiarity with the implantation techniques, labelling of each device, and the warnings.
- Vaginal Mesh Used for Stress Urinary Incontinence: The Canadian government warns that single-incision mini sling procedures are less routinely performed and “carry a higher risk of complications than the traditional mid-urethral sling procedures”, which are the most common type of surgery used to treat SUI or Stress Urinary Incontinence. Similar to treatment of POP, vaginal mesh used to treat SUI carries a high risk, may necessitate further surgeries, and damages may end up being permanent. These risks are compounded when surgeons lack proper training and experience with vaginal mesh procedures and devices.
Can I Sue a Medical Device Manufacturer or My Surgeon?
In many vaginal mesh injury cases, surgeons make no errors, and the liability lies with the defective product. However, if it is found that the surgeon made a mistake of any kind, the victim can file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against their surgeon. When a vaginal mesh defect caused the injury or medical complication, the victim can sue the manufacturer. In some rare cases, both parties—the surgeon and the mesh manufacturer—may be liable. However, it is most likely that the mesh itself was the cause of your injury. Vaginal mesh is extremely risky to use. After all, the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended that transvaginal mesh be banned for pelvic organ prolapse.
Damages Caused in a Vaginal Mesh Injury Claim
As discussed, and as you may unfortunately know of first-hand, vaginal mesh can be a dangerous medical product, and manufacturers should be held accountable for the damages that they caused to you and your family. By filing a lawsuit, you may be able to recover many of the financial damages caused, as well as compensation for emotional and psychological damages. The lawyers of The Preszler Injury Lawyers assist clients file claims for the following damages:
- Pain and suffering;
- Past medical costs;
- Future medical costs;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Other psychological damages;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning ability;
- Transportation costs associated with travel to and from doctor’s visits;
- Financial assistance with childcare;
- Financial assistance with household duties such as cleaning; and,
What is My Claim Worth?
Many clients’ first question to their lawyer is about the value of their claim—what can they expect to receive from the negligent party’s insurance company? This is a tough question to answer accurately, as it entirely depends on the pain and suffering, the injuries, the treatment needed, and the lost wages to which the victim has been subjected. Every vaginal mesh injury case is different, and there is no good way to estimate the value of your specific case without delving into much more detail. However, if you have suffered serious injury, scarring, or damage caused by the defective vaginal mesh device, your case is most likely worth a substantial amount.
How Our British Columbia Lawyers can Help You Recoup Your Damages
The main manufacturers of vaginal mesh are multi-billion-dollar companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, Endo, Boston Scientific, and Coloplast. One would assume that with such expansive financial resources, adequate testing would be performed on their products and defective devices would be pulled from shelves, but that’s not always the case. As such, these medical manufacturers have virtually limitless resources to spend on teams of lawyers fighting to limit their losses in a settlement or lawsuit.
The lawyers of The Preszler Injury Lawyers routinely settle claims against billion-dollar companies. Our defective medical device lawyers help you even the odds in lawsuits against large companies, and relentlessly pursue maximum compensation as allowed under the law.
Call the British Columbia Law Offices of the Preszler Injury Lawyers Today for Experienced Legal Assistance
The Preszler Injury Lawyers is dedicated to helping victims of transvaginal mesh injuries. We help fight for the financial compensation you need to cover future treatment, pay for lost wages, and help ease some of the financial worries that vaginal mesh injuries cause. We understand that no amount of money will erase the pain and suffering or the permanent physical damage that so many transvaginal mesh surgeries cause. However, we believe that our clients deserve substantial financial compensation not only as a form of justice, but to help them move on with their lives in a positive direction. An experienced vaginal mesh injury lawyer can help you recover the full compensation that you are owed from the manufacturer or negligent surgeon. We encourage you to contact or call our British Columbia law offices today at 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a free consultation.