Informed consent checklists for midurethral slings: a common-sense approach

Following the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) warning about the use of transvaginal mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and the use of single-incision slings to treat incontinence, the number of lawsuits for medical negligence regarding the use of any polypropylene mesh in the vagina has increased tremendously.

This same FDA document did not question the use of polypropylene midurethral slings and polypropylene for sacrocolpopexies. Surprisingly, despite all the evidence and recommendations from respected international scientific societies, we are constantly being called upon by our patients to defend the use of midurethral slings. The most common reasons for the new rash of medicolegal proceedings involving midurethral slings has to do with "breach of duties" resulting from undisclosed postoperative complications on the consent form and/or the lack of information in the medical records confirming that all possible alternative treatment options were presented to and discussed with the patient.

One response to these lawsuits involves the addition of preoperative checklists when performing informed consent with patients electing surgical correction of stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

This clinical opinion provides an expert clinician's perspectives and legal point of view on this controversial topic and discusses the role of a preoperative checklist supplementary to the standard informed consent form.

International urogynecology journal. 2017 Aug 29 [Epub ahead of print]

G Alessandro Digesu, Steven Swift, Victoria Handley

Department of Urogynaecology, Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St. Mary's Hospital, Mint Wing, South Wharf, London, W2 1NY, UK. ., Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA., Handley Law Limited, Liverpool, England.