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Woman wins High Court claim go-ahead against vaginal mesh

A woman has won the go-ahead for a High Court claim over life-changing injuries she suffered after having a controversial vaginal mesh implant fitted that eroded her insides.

After Barbara Wise’s case against mesh manufacturer Johnson and Johnson and the surgeon who conducted the procedure was dismissed in September 2014 and then reopened in May this year, a High Court judge ruled against the surgeon’s family’s appeal. 

More than 800 women are suing the NHS and the implants’ manufacturers after complaining of crippling pain in a scandal that has been compared to thalidomide.

The NHS has even been accused of sweeping complications, such as an inability to walk or have sex, under the carpet in an effort to dodge media attention.

After previously denying their implants were causing women’s discomfort, Johnson & Johnson paid out $57 million to a sufferer from Philadelphia last month after a jury found the company to be negligent and its product defective.

Pressure is mounting for a UK ban of the ‘gold-standard’ treatment for urinary stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. 

MPs discussed the impact of mesh implants in a debate in Westminster Hall yesterday.

Woman has won the go-ahead for a High Court claim over injuries she suffered from mesh


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.

Surgeon failed to explain the procedure  

In January 2007, Ms Wise was fitted with an implant at Benenden Hospital in Kent to treat her urinary stress incontinence.

Although Ms Wise’s symptoms initially improved, her incontinence reappeared six months later, alongside excruciating pain as the mesh eroded her insides.

Ms Wise had corrective surgery in September 2011, followed by a hysterectomy in January 2013.

She issued a product liability claim against Johnson and Johnson, as well as a claim against her surgeon Mohammed Mossa, in September 2014, which was dismissed. 

Ms Wise claims Mr Mossa failed to adequately explain the operation or inform her of alternative treatments.

Yet, in May this year a judge allowed the claim to continue.

Mr Mossa, who was terminally ill, died without being aware of the case, however, his estate argued the claim could not proceed as it was brought outside the legal time limit.

Today, the High Court dismissed the estate’s appeal against this ruling. 

Johnson & Johnson have been approached for comment.  


Woman wins High Court claim go-ahead against vaginal mesh

A mother-of-five who had a vaginal mesh implant fitted for mild stress incontinence now has to rush to the toilet and has even wet herself as a result of the procedure.

Julie Gilsennan, 41, from Liverpool, had an implant fitted on February 1 as she would experience leaking if she coughed, sneezed or lifted something heavy, which was impractical given her job as a paramedic.

Although she can now sneeze without leaking, Ms Gilsennan has been left with an overactive bladder that makes her desperate for the toilet within 20 minutes of drinking.

Previously highly active, Ms Gilsennan even ran 5km the day before having the implant fitted, yet she now struggles to move as she battles unbearable pain.

The agony has even forced her to quit her highly-challenging career in order to work from home alone.

Ms Gilsennan was told she would need up to six weeks off work after having the mesh fitted, however, she has been unable to return to her job as a paramedic and instead works from home processing complaints to the ambulance service.

She said: ‘I loved my job, I did it for 12 years. I miss being out on the road with colleagues and talking to people. Now I’m trapped inside my house.

‘I’m in immense pain permanently. It’s like a cheese wire, glass pain in my groin.

‘I also have constant pain across my hips as if I have arthritis. I can’t return to work as a paramedic.’

Previously highly active, Ms Gilsennan even ran 5km the day before having the implant fitted, yet she now struggles to move as she battles unbearable pain every day

Previously highly active, Ms Gilsennan even ran 5km the day before having the implant fitted, yet she now struggles to move as she battles unbearable pain every day


The NHS tried to dodge media attention over the vaginal mesh implants that left hundreds of women in agony, it was revealed in April.

The procedure cut into women’s vaginas and left many in discomfort so severe they have been left unable to work, walk or have sex.

It emerged the NHS actively sought to avoid courting headlines over the matter after minutes from an NHS meeting in October were leaked.

The minutes showed an agreement to ‘take the press element out of’ a campaign for women experiencing complications from the devices.

Seen by the Press Association, the minutes outlined the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) yellow card campaign, which targets under-reporting of mesh complications.

Officials said they should ‘look into taking the press element out of the mesh yellow card campaign’ and ‘investigate whether there can be a general yellow card campaign, of which mesh is one element, to avoid media attention on mesh’. 

‘A public health scandal’  

It was announced on Tuesday Labour is backing a public inquiry into the implants and has called for the procedure to be immediately stopped in England while the inquiry is underway. 

Sharon Hodgson MP, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, said: ‘Mesh implants have left women in permanent pain, unable to walk, and unable to work. This is an ongoing public health scandal and the Government need to do much more to support those affected.

‘Ministers have said NICE will publish updated guidance for these products but not until January 2018. Mesh implants should be taken off the market now until we know more about the threat they pose to women’s safety.

‘The Government have failed to answer big questions about the extent of this public health scandal, including how many women have been affected and why a product with such terrible risks was allowed into the market in the first place.

‘Labour is calling for a full inquiry to uncover the extent of the harm done by mesh implants so we can be sure that this never happens again.’

Today’s debate was called by Emma Hardy, MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle. 

Government rejects a ban 

Last month the Government released its three-year investigation into the mesh scandal and rejected calls for a widespread ban on the implants, which can shrink, twist and curl at the edges, leading to nerve damage.

Vaginal mesh has been considered a high-risk device for nearly a decade in the US, with bodies accepting up to 40 per cent of women may experience side effects.

Some studies, published in an array of scientific journals, have shown that pain, erosion and perforation from the surgery can affect up to 75 per cent of women.

The alarming evidence prompted officials in three US states to suspend the practice and saw them call for an urgent review into its safety.