The problems associated with the insertion of vaginal mesh implants have been the subject of a good deal of media publicity over the past number of months and years. Thousands of women worldwide have suffered significant injuries as a result of the surgery to insert these mesh implants. Most often the post-operative complications include chronic pain, difficulty with urination and difficulty / pain engaging in sexual intercourse.
These vaginal mesh implants were for many years offered by Irish Obstetricians / Gynaecologists to their patients as a treatment for pelvic floor and vaginal prolapses and to treat bladder stress incontinence. However over the past decade it has become increasingly obvious that these mesh implants have given rise to very significant failure rates and complications. Indeed Augustus Cullen Law have already successfully brought litigation and have settled claims in respect of these very debilitating injuries. It is a course of some surprise that to date there have only been a trickle of claims in Ireland, whereas it is likely that many hundreds of mesh implants have been given to Irish women over the past decade.
In light of international experience, and the volume of litigation that has been initiated in several other countries as a consequence of complications arising from these mesh implants, it is foreseeable that there could be further litigation in this country. Proceedings if brought are likely to be centred around the issue of informed consent and would also rely heavily on the provisions of the Liability for Defective Products Act of 1991.
The issue was again highlighted in the UK recently where there have been calls by senior medical consultants that there should be a public enquiry commissioned by the UK government into the continued use of vaginal mesh implants. Professor Karl Hannagan of the University of Oxford for example recently drew comparisons with the thalidomide scandal saying that there was evidence that mesh procedures used to treat complications from child birth carry significantly more risk than the official figures suggest (see https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/18/senior-doctors-call-for-public-inquiry-into-use-of-vaginal-mesh-surgery-in-uk).
21 July 2017