- Yvette Greenway-Mansfield, 56, from Leamington Spa had pelvic mesh in 2009
- From 2017 she began experiencing severe complications including incontinence
A mother left in debilitating pain from vaginal mesh has been awarded a record settlement of at least £1million from the NHS.
Yvette Greenway-Mansfield, 59, from Leamington Spa, had pelvic mesh fitted in 2009 at Coventry University Hospital to treat her uterine prolapse, when muscles and tissue in the pelvis weaken and organs like the womb slip and bulge into the vagina.
But it wasn’t until 2017 that she faced serious complications including horrendous pain and bleeding, leaving her incontinent as a result of the implant.
Her medical negligence claim against University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust found her consent form had been altered after she signed it.
Surgery was also carried out prematurely, her solicitor firm said.
Yvette Greenway-Mansfield (pictured), 59, from Leamington Spa, had pelvic mesh fitted in 2009 at Coventry University Hospital to treat her uterine prolapse, when muscles and tissue in the pelvis weaken and organs like the womb slip and bulge into the vagina. But it wasn’t until 2017 that she faced serious complications including horrendous pain and bleeding, leaving her incontinent as a result of the implant
Her medical negligence claim against University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust found her consent form had been altered after she signed it. Surgery was also carried out prematurely, her solicitor firm said. Pictured, Mrs Greenway-Mansfield with her husband Michael Mansfield QC, 82
Mrs Greenway-Mansfield hailed the compensation as a ‘huge relief’ but slammed the Government for failing to support thousands of other women in their own claims.
Vaginal mesh is net-like material made of plastic inserted into the vaginal wall to act as a scaffold to support organs such as the bladder.
It was once routinely doled out on the NHS to treat prolapse and incontinence, two issues common following childbirth.
But it led to a catalogue of health problems in thousands of women, including sexual dysfunction and damage to the vaginal wall.
For some, the mesh cut through their vaginal wall or pierced their bladder.
Victims of the procedure — branded ‘barbaric’ by campaigners — were left barely able to walk.
WHAT ARE VAGINAL MESH IMPLANTS?
Vaginal mesh implants are devices used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence in women.
Usually made from synthetic polypropylene, a type of plastic, the implants are intended to repair damaged or weakened tissue in the vagina wall.
Other fabrics include polyester, human tissue and absorbable synthetic materials.
Some women report severe and constant abdominal and vaginal pain after the surgery. In some, the pain is so severe they are unable to have sex.
Infections, bleeding and even organ erosion has also been reported.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MESH?
Mini-sling: This implant is embedded with a metallic inserter. It sits close to the mid-section of a woman’s urethra. The use of an inserter is thought to lower the risk of cutting during the procedure.
TVT sling: Such a sling is held in place by the patient’s body. It is inserted with a plastic tape by cutting the vagina and making two incisions in the abdomen. The mesh sits beneath the urethra.
TVTO sling: Inserted through the groin and sits under the urethra. This sling was intended to prevent bladder perforation.
TOT sling: Involves forming a ‘hammock’ of fibrous tissue in the urethra. Surgeons often claim this form of implant gives them the most control during implantation.
Ventral mesh rectopexy: Releases the rectum from the back of the vagina or bladder. A mesh is then fitted to the back of the rectum to prevent prolapse.
Discussing her settlement, Mrs Greenway-Mansfield told The Guardian: ‘I’m not the only one. There are thousands of me’s.
‘There should be a pot of money to provide damages for these women and a care plan in place as an automatic response to mesh-damaged people.
‘It comes down to a perception of women and women’s health problems. We’ve all had enough of it.’
Mrs Greenway-Mansfield, who is married to barrister Michael Mansfield QC, 82, initially visited her GP in 2009 after needing to urinate more frequently and experiencing lower abdominal discomfort.
She was told she had a uterine prolapse and was recommended a transvaginal tape (TVT) mesh implant.
But in August 2017, she suffered sudden excruciating pain in her lower right abdomen, which radiated down her leg and her vagina started bleeding.
Her pain became more severe, but she was told there was no obvious medical solution.
In February 2020, the mesh was removed following a private referral to the Spire Bristol Hospital.
However, she continues to experience urinary and faecal incontinence and chronic pain.
Her claim against the hospital trust found Mrs Greenway-Mansfield’s form consenting to the procedures had been altered after she had signed it.
Risks of the surgery including cystoscopy, tape erosion, pain, overactive bladder and deep vein thrombosis, were not included in her original consent form, which she had kept a copy of.
She said: ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I felt utterly vindicated.
‘If I hadn’t kept that documentation, I could be standing in court, being subjected to a grilling, being made out to be a liar,’ she said. ‘It breaks my heart for women who have to go through that.’
Neil Clayton, a clinical negligence partner at Lime Solicitors, which represented Greenway-Mansfield, said: ‘The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust owed a duty of care to ensure it obtained Mrs Greenway-Mansfield’s fully informed consent to any surgical procedure and advised her of the likely risks that could arise as a result.’
‘The gynaecologist proceeded to surgery prematurely before exhausting all behavioural and medical options.
‘Furthermore, she carried out the wrong operation for the wrong condition and proceeded to surgery unnecessarily.
‘It is particularly shocking that Mrs Greenway-Mansfield signed a consent form that was altered afterwards to include risks she was never made aware of.
‘No amount of money can fully compensate Mrs Greenway-Mansfield for the pain she has suffered and will continue to experience, and the lifelong care she will require, which all stems back to her not requiring mesh in the first place.’
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said: ‘We have directly offered our sincerest apologies to Mrs Greenway-Mansfield and recognise how her life has been affected by this procedure in 2009.
‘The provision of procedures using vaginal mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse has been paused in England since 2019, and specialist centres were created in 2022.’
‘We hope the settlement will enable Mrs Greenway-Mansfield to meet her ongoing care needs and provide security for her and her family into the future.’
How many women’s lives have been ruined by this mesh is unknown, but Baroness Cumberlege, who led the official review into the scandal — published in 2020 — estimated it to be ‘tens of thousands’.
Vaginal mesh is net-like material made of plastic inserted into the vaginal wall to act as a scaffold to support organs such as the bladder. It was once routinely doled out on the NHS to treat prolapse and incontinence, two issues common following childbirth. But it led to a catalogue of health problems in thousands of women, including sexual dysfunction and damage to the vaginal wall
The use of the mesh for stress urinary incontinence was paused in July 2018 as recommended by the inquiry’s preliminary report.
Mesh, also known as tension-free vaginal tape, or TVT, was introduced as a surgical method to treat stress urinary incontinence.
The condition, which affects millions of women in the UK, causes urine to leak out of the bladder involuntarily. Figures suggest that six in ten women are living with at least one symptom of poor pelvic floor health, such as urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse.
For some, this can be just a few drops, triggered by a cough, sneeze or some forms of exercise.
But others can find their whole bladder emptying without warning. The problem is usually the result of a weakening of, or damage to, the network of muscles inside the pelvis that are involved in urination. This is common after childbirth.
The operation involves inserting a piece of mesh, normally made from a kind of plastic, through a small cut in the vagina.
It is placed under the urethra, the tiny tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body, and is meant to support the weakened muscles and improve control.
Last year, Karen Preater was awarded a £970,000 payout in a clinical negligence case over vaginal mesh surgery performed on her at a hospital in north Wales in 2014.
The case found, Mrs Preater who underwent vaginal mesh surgery in January 2014, had not properly consented to it.
The surgery itself was performed negligently and as a result she suffered a life-changing chronic pain condition.