Mesh implants wrongly used in dozens of patients, NHS admits
Trust says more than 50 people should not have received controversial surgery.
More than 50 patients who were given a controversial type of bowel surgery involving artificial mesh implants should not have been operated on, a hospital trust has admitted.
Dozens of women should not have received a pelvic floor surgery using mesh at Southmead hospital in Bristol, an investigation found.
In 2017 the Guardian uncovered a national scandal surrounding mesh procedures, revealing that thousands of women had ended up undergoing surgery to remove the implants, which can be used to remedy health problems after childbirth.
Last summer the government had to order a suspension of the procedure to prevent further risk of “life-changing and life-threatening injuries” to women, amid mounting pressure from campaigners.
In the Southmead case, a surgeon, Anthony Dixon, was suspended in 2017 after concerns were first raised and an inquiry examined 143 cases.
Dixon, who also worked at the private Spire hospital in Bristol, pioneered the use of artificial mesh to lift prolapsed bowels – often caused by childbirth – in a technique known as laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy (LVMR).
North Bristol NHS trust has now told 57 patients they should have been offered alternative treatment first, after an investigation into their care.
The General Medical Council has imposed sanctions on Dixon, stipulating that he is banned from carrying out this type of surgery until November 2019.
Another 73 patients considered by the review have been told the surgery they received was appropriate, while a further 13 patients were told that investigations into their cases will be completed as soon as possible.
After concerns were raised about pelvic floor surgery, the trust began a review of the cases of women and men who underwent LVMR between 2007 and 2017.
Dr Chris Burton, the medical director of North Bristol NHS trust, said: “I want to apologise to all patients who have received surgery unnecessarily – it is unacceptable and we are taking it extremely seriously.
“We took immediate action to ensure this couldn’t happen again and have been supporting patients where they need it. We will keep investigating to ensure we have identified those patients affected by these issues, and to find out what happened to learn lessons for future care.”
The law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represents 49 people who underwent surgery at Southmead and Spire hospitals, called on the trust to reveal its findings.
Solicitor Sallie Booth said: “Today’s announcement by North Bristol NHS trust is extremely concerning and understandably has caused a great deal of distress to our clients. The trust should now openly publish its findings to the patients concerned – rather than force them to get to the truth only through a stressful litigation process.”
Irwin Mitchell has already agreed terms with the trust for a scheme to consider compensation.
Booth added that her law firm’s investigations suggested that the use of mesh in this type of surgery had potentially “long-term adverse consequences”.
Dixon is currently the subject of interim conditions of practice while the General Medical Council carries out a full investigation.
A GMC spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the outcome of North Bristol NHS trust’s investigation and the concerns that patients will be experiencing.
“While our own investigation is ongoing, Dr Dixon has had interim conditions placed on his practice by an interim orders tribunal at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.”
This news story was published by The Guardian. Click here to view the original post.
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