In medical malpractice and personal injury cases, it is important to consider the mental and emotional effects of a serious injury in addition to the physical ones. A life-changing injury can cause deep emotional trauma that affects mental health, professional development, and personal relationships. These factors must be considered when medical malpractice lawyers negotiate settlements.

Complications from procedures involving surgical mesh – woven synthetic sheets, surgically implanted to support organs and other tissues – have received significant media coverage recently, including an exhaustive investigation by CBC News and the Toronto Star. The physical symptoms, including chronic pain, autoimmune issues, and painful intercourse, are horrific and have sparked several lawsuits. Now, the emotional impacts are also becoming clear.

In January, a new study published in JAMA Surgery found women who experience complications from pelvic mesh procedures are more likely to experience depression than women whose pelvic mesh procedures do not produce complications. The study followed Ontario women who required followup mesh implant surgery over a 12-year period.

“Seeing these women in clinic, they are often quite emotional and quite upset with these results of what’s meant to be minimally invasive surgery,” lead study author Dr. Blayne Welk, an associate professor of surgery at Western University, said in an interview with CBC News.

Dr. Welk’s team found that younger patients – those under the age of 46 – were at higher risk of depression, likely due to concerns regarding career development and starting or growing a family.

“[Younger women] tend to be a lot more affected by the complications and some of the effects it has on intimacy with their partner,” said Welk. “That may be one of the driving forces for some psychiatric diagnoses.”

The CBC also spoke to women who believe their mental health has been affected by complications from surgical mesh procedures.

“My depression has increased,” pelvic mesh patient Natasha Roach told the CBC last November. “I’ll be open enough to say a couple weeks ago, I had a severe mental breakdown. Now I’m at a loss just for everything and I’m extremely stressed out, too.”

When medical malpractice lawyers seek compensation for their clients, they must illustrate the full scope of damages their client has incurred. These include not only the physical consequences of a medical error, but the emotional and mental impacts as well.

If you or someone you know has suffered complications from a surgical mesh procedure, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers can help you understand your legal options and provide support throughout your recovery.


Image credit: Anpol42/Wikimedia Commons

Greg Neinstein