Wiltshire

Mesh surgery patient still in pain five years on

Chloe Thurston
Image caption Chloe Thurston, from Wiltshire, said she may have to have her mesh implant removed after five years

A woman who had mesh surgery aged 15 has said she is still suffering health problems five years on.

Chloe Thurston is thought to be the youngest UK patient to have had the procedure.

She expected it to be "a quick fix" of her prolapse, also known as a sagging bowel, but said it had proved "the complete opposite".

Five years after the operation, Ms Thurston, now 20, may have to have the mesh removed.

Baroness Julia Cumberlege, who is leading a government review of mesh surgery, told the BBC she had heard some "horrendous" stories.

Ms Thurston was warned of the risks involved when she underwent the surgery in 2013, but was still dismayed when it went wrong.

'A lot of pain'

She said: "I was under the impression I'd be asleep for an hour and it was a quick fix, but no. It was completely the opposite.

"I got an infection somewhere in my body.

"When I went home, I was obviously in a lot of pain, so I couldn't really walk and then I started to have bleeding, discharge and all sorts."

A year later, even though the prolapse went away, she was still having problems.

Image caption Ms Thurston said she was not offered any other less invasive treatment such as physical therapy prior to her surgery

Ms Thurston added that the fact she was believed to be the youngest to have the procedure "shocks" her.

"I was very scared even when I went to have this operation back in 2013, I was terrified," she said.

"I don't want it to ruin my life - my everyday social life, my friends."

Her doctor has more recently diagnosed her condition as a bowel dysfunction, and said it was exacerbated by the biological mesh procedure.

Ms Thurston said she was not offered any other less invasive treatment such as physical therapy prior to her surgery.

"Something needs to be done, it's five years down the line now and this is my life at home that's getting affected," she said.

The BBC is not naming the hospital or surgeon involved in Ms Thurston's case, but they said they were sorry to hear she was unhappy and would welcome the chance to discuss her care.

Image caption Surgical mesh is used to treat pelvic organ prolapse - among a number of other procedures

Baroness Cumberlege said hundreds of women had come forward as part of the review.

It was announced in February 2018 by then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, after complaints from many patients about the use of surgical mesh implants used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence after childbirth.

Baroness Cumberlege said what struck her was how little research had been done in the past about the use of mesh.

"To introduce a new product and not to have done proper research is actually inexcusable," she said.

"Once a new product is used then we want to be absolutely certain that there is a proper follow up. We want to ensure there is a proper database so that we know which surgeon inserted which particular mesh and into whom."

Appalled

Baroness Cumberlege said she believed the "most important thing" was to "stop these sort of things happening in the future".

"We want to ensure the patients who have suffered will have a chance to have their voices heard," she added.

"We have been appalled by the way they have been dismissed in the past."

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