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Case Study

Devastating pelvic mesh injuries following Laparoscopic Ventral Mesh Rectopexy surgery at John Radcliffe Hospital

Jonathan Zimmern represented Charlotte, who underwent an ill-advised Laparoscopic Ventral Mesh Rectopexy (LVMR) surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in 2010.

Over the following years, the mesh eroded into Charlotte's pelvis and she suffered eight years of life-altering problems including pelvic pain, back pain, an auto-immune reaction and bowel incontinence. 

A significant number of patients undergoing LVMR have reported mesh erosion, chronic pelvic pain, nerve damage, incontinence and need for further surgery to repair the damage.  These numbers emerged in the Sling the Mesh campaign in 2015 where mesh support groups demanded a ban on pelvic mesh and the First Do No Harm review in 2018. The review highlighted the devastating impact of mesh on these women.

A rare complication in Charlotte's case was that shortly after the insertion of the mesh, she began to suffer from an autoimmune reaction including stomach cramps, intensive burning sensation in the balls of her feet, dry eyes, unexplained itching, joint pain, neck pain and chronic fatigue.  It was not until Charlotte's mesh was removed eight years later that her autoimmune symptoms completely resolved.

During the removal surgery, the mesh was found to have eroded into her pelvis and she required a low anterior bowel resection.

Charlotte instructed Jonathan and his team after her mesh was removed. Jonathan instructed a team of experts including a gynaecologist, colorectal surgeon and rheumatologist to consider Charlotte's case. It became clear following meetings with the team that there were several concerns surrounding Charlotte's case and Jonathan put forward a case on Charlotte's behalf to the effect that:

  • the LVMR was not the appropriate procedure at the time as she had not been offered conservative treatments beforehand;
  • She had not been advised adequately or at all with respect to the risks of the LVMR;
  • had she been offered conservative measures first and/or had all of the risks explained to her, she would have declined the LVMR. 

The hospital sent a lengthy and detailed denial of the criticisms, primarily suggesting that in 2010 the surgical team were not even aware of many of the risks to the procedure. But Jonathan and his team (with significant help from Charlotte herself) were able to demonstrate that not only were the surgeons aware of the risks, they had in fact written articles and a text book about them at around that time.

Eventually, the Defendant Trust agreed to meet and Jonathan was able to agree an out-of-court settlement at the end of last year. 

Charlotte was incredibly grateful to Jonathan for allowing her to be heard and understood:

"When selecting representation, I found a lot of no win, no fee law firms focussed on growing their mesh injured clientele, and not necessarily focussed on me/my case as an individual. 

Jonathan Zimmern was a breath of fresh air in this regard; I felt seen, heard and understood and he had a great deal of empathy. These were the qualities that I needed from a lawyer in order to be able to talk openly about my devastating health injuries. 

Team Zimmern are an incredible bunch of people who kept me updated at all times, I was never left wondering what was happening.  I found them to be utterly professional, pro-active and super supportive – especially when I was diagnosed with cancer half way through the process.  They made taking legal action a simple and relatively stress free process for me, and I strongly recommend them."

 

For further information about surgery negligence claims and medical negligence claims, please call Jonathan Zimmern on 03304606779 or email jonathan.zimmern@fieldfisher.com.

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