The recent reports of suggestions made by doctors in Australia that anal sex and other sexual practices could be the solution to chronic pain suffered during intercourse by women implanted with pelvic mesh devices continues to highlight the growing concern of the public in regard to the use of these products.
Synthetic polypropylene and biological mesh, amongst other uses, has been and continues to be used as part of the surgical process to treat women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse.
The legal position regarding the use of these devices is a difficult and complex one. Whilst there undoubtedly have been an increasing number of women reporting complications following such surgery using pelvic mesh implants, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency have published a report and assessment of the benefits and risks of mesh implants and concluded that the benefit of these devices outweighs the risk and that there was insufficient evidence to remove the devices from the market.
Mesh implants have been in use for some considerable time, but from the point of view of a claim in Product Liability under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 1987, if it can be proved that the implant is a 'defective product' within the meaning of this legislation, that is, if it can be shown that the safety of the product is not such as people generally are entitled to expect, then there could be liability on behalf of the manufacturers and suppliers, leading to substantial compensation awards in the courts. Such claims are never straightforward however, and are heavily reliant upon independent expert evidence, strong enough to prove defect and to rebut the defences available to the manufacturer under the Act. In addition, close examination and analysis is required of the available research, regulatory papers and reports, relevant medical notes and records, and ultimately the manufacturer's documentation, which can be particularly extensive, within the context of such claims.
Similarly, there is mounting concern over the use of the 'Essure' sterilisation coil, another device which is implanted into the body, and which has in many cases led to chronic pain and complications, in some instances requiring hysterectomies to be performed as the only available option to remove the device. The device consists of nickel and polyester fibre coils which are implanted into the fallopian tubes, causing scar tissue to form around the coil, which prevents sperm from reaching the eggs and thus preventing pregnancy.
Claims in Product liability in regard to these devices can certainly be considered, and would again be heavily reliant on independent expert evidence proving defect. However the fact that there has been a recent suspension of sales within the European Union, which was instigated by the manufacturers of the Essure device themselves, could prove significant from the point of view of proving a claim in Product Liability under the Act. Again, extensive consideration of all relevant documentation and data is required in regard to such claims.
If you have been implanted with either of these devices and have suffered pain or disability as a result, please seek advice in regard to a possible claim for compensation.