Can I Sue Based on Complications Caused by My Hernia Repair Surgery?
Recent studies indicate that about one million hernia repair operations are performed annually in this country. Roughly 800,000 of those surgeries are due to inguinal hernias – the type involving the inner groin area. With some hernias next to the abdominal wall, the bulging signs of the hernia are visible to others when the afflicted person physically strains to handle a demanding activity.
In general, a hernia develops when fatty tissue (or a part of an organ like an intestine) pushes its way through a weakened area in connective tissue or a surrounding muscle. Once this type of condition worsens, surgery is often required. Unfortunately, many of these operations are not successful due to defects in the mesh implants.
Compensation is now available to many harmed by defective hernia implants
Now that many Americans have undergone repair operations to correct the harm they’ve endured during their original hernia surgery – often due to a defective implant – thousands of them are now entitled to sue the appropriate parties for the harm they’ve suffered.
Here is a look at many of the questions often asked by those who have been injured during hernia surgeries. The answers provided can help those suffering decide if they should request legal help from our firm.
This article also reviews the qualifying criteria for representation – designed to increase the chances that the injured person we represent will likely recover full compensation for all that they have suffered.
What are the different types of hernias that patients often develop today?
There are six common types of hernias that may require immediate medical attention – and
possibly surgery. Each type is briefly described below.
- Incisional. These hernias can occur after surgery, when the staples or sutures may have been sewn or put in place improperly. They can also develop in an existing surgical scar in a person’s abdomen.
- Inguinal. This type of hernia can cause considerable discomfort in a person’s groin area.
- Femoral. Hernias like this type can develop in the patient’s upper thigh or outer groin area.
- Hiatal. These develop inside a person’s abdomen, close to the upper portion of the stomach or along the side of the diaphragm.
- Ventral. Patients suffering from these can feel the pain in the abdominal or ventral wall area of their bodies.
- Umbilical. As the name implies, these hernias develop right near the belly button.
What events or conditions can often cause someone to suffer a hernia?
Obviously, these can very a bit, depending on the part of the body where the hernia occurs. In general, the following events can often result in the development of a hernia.
In general terms, when people physically strain to do things — creating increased abdominal pressure in their bodies — they can develop hernias. This is the main reason that many people often wear special waist belts when lifting heavy objects. Hernias can also be caused by serious problems with obesity, diarrhea, constipation – and chronic wheezing and coughing.
Problem choices and behaviors can also contribute to the development of a hernia, including smoking, poor nutrition – and overexertion. Each of these can play a role in weakening a person’s muscles – to the point that a hernia is likely to develop. Doctors also have to warn patients to avoid straining too much while sitting on the toiler during bowel movements. Some people are also simply born with a genetic or family tendency to develop hernias.
Here are a few more possible causes of hernias not already referenced above.
- Having an enlarged prostrate. Straining too much while trying to urinate
- Peritoneal dialysis
- Cystic fibrosis
- Excess fluid in the abdomen
- Undescended testicles
How do doctors normally proceed once they believe a patient has a hernia?
- The FDA website says that many doctors take a “watchful waiting” stance. Most talented doctors and surgeons never want any patient to rush toward surgery unless the circumstances fully justify it. Should a patient’s symptoms become too difficult to manage, surgery will quickly be scheduled.
- Surgery. In some cases, this can be done in a laparoscopic Multiple small incisions are made in the area where the hernia is located. This approach may or may not require the use of a surgical mesh product. An open repair method can also be used. This type of surgery can also sometimes be completed – with or without a surgical mesh product.
What symptoms do people often notice after poorly handled hernia repair operations?
Patients can develop many serious complications and new sources of pain and injury. Here is a short list of these general complications.
- Signs of renal failure
- Internal organs can cause pain because they were perforated by defective implants
- Abdominal ulcers
- Chronic pain
- Allergic reactions to the materials used to create the implants
- Fistulas can develop in the intestines
- Unexplained bleeding
- Nerve damage
- The implanted mesh product may stop working – and there may be signs that the product is wearing away or migrating
- Surgical adhesions can develop
- Some degree of sexual dysfunction may occur
- The hernia problem may reoccur – requiring additional, corrective surgery
- The person’s bowels may become obstructed or perforated. The FDA has stated that this particular complaint has been mostly caused by (defective), recalled mesh products.
- Various infections can develop, often tied to one or more of the problems already noted above in this list.
While this list is not intended to be comprehensive, it does indicate many of the complaints our hernia mesh product clients often tell us about – or we find described in their medical records.
Which hernia repair products does our firm handle in current lawsuits?
- Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Physiomesh implant. At one point, J & J issued a “market
withdrawal” of this product. Over a lengthy time period, the FDA received numerous,
adverse medical reports – clearly indicating major patient complaints after their surgeons used
this product. In one of the cases documented by the FDA, a patient who underwent an open
incision hernia repair, had to undergo a second, corrective surgery.
During that follow-up procedure, it was discovered that the implanted Ethicon Physiomesh
product had “come apart and unraveled” in the patient’s body. Some sources indicate that
at one point, the FDA received hundreds of adverse medical reports a month due to
the use of this product.
- The Atrium C-Qur V-Patch. In August 9, 2013, the FDA issued a Class 2 Recall for the
C- QUR V-Patch Mesh. This product was intended for use by surgeons “to handle soft- tissue
deficiencies.” The product’s manufacturer was Atrium Medical Corporation, located in
Hudson, New Hampshire.
Atrium’s stated reason for recalling this device was that the coated mesh might stick to the
inner box packaging if it were later stored in high humidity conditions. (Manufacturers’ stated
reasons for recalling a product appear to often be worded in the most legally neutral terms
possible). As a result of this given concern, the FDA initially categorized this problem as one
involving package design. However, on February 4, 2015, the FDA obtained an injunction
against Atrium – which led to a production halt on all these recalled, hernia mesh products.
Depending on the specific facts involved, our firm may choose to accept cases related to other
defective, hernia repair products. We always carefully review the surgical records of each
prospective client who meets the other criteria set forth below.
What hernia repair case facts must be documented to qualify for our firm’s legal help?
- The potential client must have undergone hernia repair surgery since 2010 that involved using one of the hernia mesh products named above – or another similar product that is currently among the types of hernia mesh lawsuits our firm still chooses to handle.
- Painful or other difficult complications occurred due to the hernia implant used and
the patient’s doctor recommended surgery to try and correct the problems.
- Either the corrective surgery revealed defects in the implant already used – or the
surgeon could not correct all the damage caused by the implant.
- Our review of the prospective client’s medical records reveals the name of the hernia mesh implant manufacturer and indicates the product number and other classifications we need to find. For example, if the product was an Atrium C-Qur V–Patch, it might be classified as “Mesh, polymeric, surgical” and be stamped with a specific product code.
- The potential client is still experiencing painful medical symptoms that are due to the
implant that was originally used. And all attempts to heal the pain and symptoms have
provided limited relief.
Once a potential new client has met these qualifying criteria, our firm then completes our investigation and files a lawsuit on that person’s behalf.