Woman denied life changing operation due to lack of funding - lives in constant pain

A local woman has been denied a potentially life changing operation due to a lack of funding.

Women having some kind of incontinence after having children is such a widespread problem, its a running joke in society and the media - how many times have you heard "hahaha I think I peed a little bit!"?

But in real life it can be embarrassing, controlling and in some cases, debilitating. For years, women were offered a TVT [Tension-free vaginal tape] sling procedure, which sought to solve the problem. Sadly, it is now becoming more and more obvious that women are being put through pain and discomfort thanks to this procedure, with many being dismissed by their friends and healthcare professionals as just "women's problems"

Well one local woman has been suffering intense pain and infections since she had a TVT procedure in August 2016, and has now had her hopes of having it removed dashed as she has been told that there isn't the funding available to perform the operation and she faces having to raise nearly £8,000 to have the operation performed. 

Hayley Wagstaffe was diagnosed with stress and urinary incontinence after having children. When she gave birth to her second son, she suffered a slight prolapse. She had a TVT sling inserted in August 2016 but has suffered severe pelvic pain ever since.

Hayley Wagstaffe with her daughter

Hayley, from Stoke Gabriel and living in Kingsteignton, has had her life turned upside down by the TVT procedure. Her consultant has recommended the removal of the sling mesh but according to the Manor Hospital in Oxford, there is "no NHS funding at present". 

In a letter to Hayley's doctor to tell her that they wouldn't fund the operation, Devon Clinical Commissioning Group state that it is "unclear if the pelvic pain is related to the TVT mesh", despite the fact Hayley says the pain started immediately after the operation and has persisted ever since. Her doctor is putting together an appeal but Hayley doesn't hold out much hope.

She can't have the removal operation closer to home because "no one round here will touch me". So she has spent the last year travelling back and forth to John Radcliffe Hospital for appointments, scans, a cystoscopy and more meetings to get approval for the surgery, only to be told six months later that they can't fund it and she would have to go private, a decision which Hayley said has "shattered" her.  

Hayley had a serious infection after being discharged after the original operation and had catheters for weeks. She has had to self-catheterise since as her bladder doesn't fully empty. This means she has to take a handful of tablets every day,  antibiotics for infection as well as painkillers and morphine.

She is having to take on all of this while caring for her two sons who are autistic, and her baby daughter. The constant pain is affecting her mental health as well, she suffers with bi-polar disorder and says the pain has pushed her to the brink of suicide. 

Hayley with her three children

Devon County Council have been supportive of her situation and have agreed to have her bathroom adapted as she cannot get in and out of a bath and has had to have a higher seat and rails added to her toilet because she can't bend down to a lower loo seat. She has had to have a commode in her bedroom.

Her marriage has broken down due to the stress and embarrassment of the situation she is in. 

I don’t want him to see this, I just want him to be free of me like this, he deserves so much more.

She can’t go out with friends or have a drink, and she can't go swimming, which she loved to do, because of the infections. Not being able to hold wee or stand for long periods of time means she is constantly worrying about where the nearest toilet is.

The removal of the mesh does not guarantee the removal of Hayley's pain but she has no other option. 

I just want this out of me. This is no life for me and my kids. I'm 30, not 80. Its my children who suffer the most but I try to be brave for them. I just want a good life for me and my children.

A spokesperson for NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are looking into this matter and will be in touch with Ms Wagstaffe soon.”

Hayley's operation has been temporarily booked in for August 28, but only if she is able to raise the money needed to perform it.

If you would like to donate to Hayley and help her live pain-free, you can visit her Go Fund Me page here.


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