Bristol bowel mesh operations compensation 'will cost millions'

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Image caption Terri Tyler had the procedure four years ago but says the mesh created more problems than it solved

Legal action being taken by 156 women who had mesh surgery could see up to £30m being paid out, lawyers have said.

The women claim surgeon Anthony Dixon was too quick to use meshes for prolapsed bowels but he maintains he acted in good faith.

North Bristol NHS Trust has awarded £185,000 to one woman after she had surgery at Southmead Hospital in Bristol in 2016.

More operations were carried out at the private Spire hospital by Mr Dixon.

A spokesman for Fletchers Solicitors, which is acting on behalf of five clients, said with settlements as well as costs the figure could rise to as much as £30m if all of the cases were awarded £200,000 each.

Thompsons Solicitors, which along with Irwin Mitchell is dealing with the legal action against the hospital trust for a total of 151 clients, said costs and damages were "always difficult to estimate particular when each client is slightly different".

About two thirds of the operations were carried at Spire hospital.

The woman who received £185,000 compensation was left with a devastating injury caused by the surgery and had to be fitted with a colostomy bag.

Image caption The mesh implants are used to ease incontinence and to support organs

Another woman, Terri Tyler from Hanham, had a mesh operation four years ago to correct her prolapse.

She was told by Southmead her operation was necessary and done correctly .

She said: "It's alright for them to say you've had a procedure and it's corrected the problem you had but it's created 10 other problems.

"I'm worse off now than when I was when I started."

The law firms are aiming to secure settlements and find a quick resolution using an approach known as alternative dispute resolution.

Madeleine Pinschof, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: "They tend to be agreed when there are a number of claims involving one particular surgeon.

"It's usually a streamlined process in order to bring a claim, usually avoiding the courts. This helps to minimise the stress to the patient and hopefully bring a conclusion swiftly."

Image copyright Geograph/Steve Rober
Image caption Southmead Hospital said it did not want the claims process to be "more difficult than it needs to be"

Medical director at Southmead Hospital, Dr Chris Burton, said: "Each claim has to be managed on its merits, but the trust wants to ensure the process is not more complicated and difficult than it needs to be."

Spire, where Dixon performed many more operations, is due to report back to patients next month after investigating whether its mesh operations were necessary.