Legal Guides

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Claiming compensation for a failed TVT (Tension-Free Vaginal Tape) operation

Clinical negligence solicitors are seeing more compensation claims from women suffering excruciating pain after their TVT operations went badly wrong.

TVT procedures were designed to help stop incontinence after childbirth. The surgery involves implanting synthetic mesh tape to support the bladder.

Victims were told the operations were low-risk – but then suffered agonising pelvic and vaginal pain.

Other symptoms can include nerve damage, scarring, fistulas, infections, urinary retention, vaginal bleeding and discharge, blood in stools, auto-immune problems.

Failed TVT operations can ruin lives. They can cause incontinence – the very problem they were supposed to cure – and can also stop couples from having sex.

So how do you claim compensation to treat the problem and stop the pain? There are three main grounds for complaint:

1.  Surgical error – your Consultant botched the TVT operation

Your TVT tape may have been implanted badly. This lack of surgical care may have caused the mesh to move inside your body – cutting into your flesh and even perforating organs.

In these cases, your solicitor should get specialist advice from medical experts to prove the treatment you received was sub-standard.

2. Your implanted TVT mesh was defective

It may be that – while the procedure was carried out correctly – the implanted tape failed, resulting in complications.

Removing the mesh may not be easy as it can break up. It can require multiple operations to remove all the pieces – resulting in a claim to cover the cost of all the corrective treatment.

3. You were not informed of all the risks beforehand

Did the doctors fail to warn you about all the risks before your TVT procedure?

If they did not tell you in full about what could go wrong, the permission you gave them to operate was not ‘informed consent’.

Or perhaps you were not told of other less invasive treatments for your condition. Maybe you were not offered alternatives, such as pelvic floor exercises.

If so, you may have grounds for legal action against the hospital and its medical staff for failing to obtain proper consent before carrying out your operation.

In all these cases, compensation may not be limited to your physical injuries and any loss of earnings you may have suffered.

Failed TVT operations can also result in psychological injuries because of the nature of their symptoms, the emotional distress they can cause and their impact on marriages and relationships.

Why did my TVT operation go wrong?

This is the prime motivation for most victims when they consider legal action: what went wrong? And how can we stop it from happening to other women?

They want an apology from the health authority, for someone to be held accountable and genuine assurances that better safety protocols will be put in place to protect other patients.

Nobody wants to sue the NHS, but its negligence has left some women with no choice. They are no longer able to work because their injuries are so severe.

They claim compensation because they need treatment and care to help them recover and come to terms with what has been done to them.

Compensation payments for failed TVT procedures are in the region of £70,000 – even before loss of earnings is taken into account.

Six-figure damages payouts are possible if a victim’s career has been cut short.

Author: Lydia Barnett is a Partner at Coles Miller Solicitors. She is an expert in Clinical Negligence and specialises in TVT cases.

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic. If specific advice is required in connection with any of the matters covered in this article, please speak to Coles Miller Solicitors directly.

Published on 2nd November 2017
(Last updated 7th May 2021)