The experience of women reporting damage from vaginal mesh: a reflexive thematic analysis.
Toye F., Izett-Kay M., Barker KL., McNiven A.
BACKGROUND: The UK's 'First do no harm' report highlighted missed opportunities to prevent harm and emphasised the need to incorporate patient voices into healthcare. Due to concerns about, and the subsequent suspension, of vaginal mesh for urinary incontinence thousands of women face the decision about mesh removal surgery. The aim of this study was to explore and understand the experience of living with complications attributed to vaginal mesh surgery so that this knowledge can contribute to improvements in care for those considering mesh, or mesh removal, surgery. METHODS: This study was embedded in the 'PURSUE' study which explored the experiences of 74 people with urogynaecological conditions in the UK (30th April 2021-17th December 2021). Of these 74 people, fifteen women reported complications that they attributed to vaginal mesh surgery. We used the six stages of reflexive thematic analysis to conceptualise these fifteen accounts. FINDINGS: Our conceptual model anchors eight themes around two dualities: (1) body parts versus body whole, (2) dominant discourse versus marginal discourse. Our themes indicate that trust can be established through: (1) embodied healthcare that focuses on connecting with patients' lived experience, (2) dialectic communication that recognises patient experiences and remains open to alternative perspectives. INTERPRETATION: This study raises some important issues for education and practice. Our findings can translate to other health settings where treatments aimed to provide care have caused harm. FUNDING: NIHR Policy Research Programme (NIHR202450).