If you are one of the many people in British Columbia who have suffered a hernia, you know the pain, discomfort, and fear that this type of injury causes. However, suffering from the pain of a hernia is just the tip of the iceberg for many unfortunate hernia victims, as the surgical procedure and medical devices used to fix hernias are sometimes more painful, more damaging, and more problematic than the hernia itself. Defective or improperly placed hernia mesh has affected hundreds of thousands of people, causing severe pain, bowel obstruction, and even more serious medical complications—some of which can even lead to septic and other life-threatening conditions. As a victim of defective hernia mesh, you deserve financial compensation. A British Columbia hernia mesh personal injury lawyer can help. The Preszler Law Firm is here to help you recover the damages that you are owed so that you can get on with your life and put this costly, painful time behind you.
Hernias are caused when there is an opening, hole, or weakness in the muscle wall that constrains the intestines. The intestines, or sometimes fat, push through this wall and cause serious pain and discomfort for the patient at the groin or stomach. However the hernia was caused, either through strain or a genetic weakness, hernias can be a debilitating medical condition.
One popular method of treatment is to place a synthetic mesh material between the muscle wall and the intestines, and then sew the muscle and skin back together. The mesh acts as a barrier against the intestines, and strengthens the support holding them in place so that they do not breach through the muscle tissue again. Without such treatment, hernia recurrence rates are high. In fact, one study published in Science Direct found that before the era of hernia mesh repairs, the rate of hernia recurrence after surgery was between 10% and 30% for groin hernias. During the ongoing hernia mesh “era” of hernia operations, recurrence rates dropped to between 1% and 30%. As such, doctors have been using hernia mesh for over 50 years, despite the many drawbacks to this method of treatment. Other researchers have found the hernia recurrence is more rare, with a 2.7% of recurrence for hernias fixed with mesh, and an 8.2% rate of recurrence when the hernia is fixed with stitches alone, as reported by Drug Watch. However, despite the increased risk of recurrence without hernia mesh placement, the tradeoff may not be worth it, as the long-term consequences of faulty hernia mesh may cause more damage than the hernia recurrence.
Hernias are a fairly common type of medical condition. In fact, 2% of the population will experience a hernia at some point in their lives, though some studies have shown that this number is on the low side. No hernia will go away on its own. Once the intestine has pushed through the muscle wall, the only way to fix it is with surgery. Of hernia types, a recent study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports found that the breakdown of occurrence of each is as follows:
As such, most people who have surgery are in for an inguinal hernia, which is a tear or hole located in the lower abdominal wall. This type of hernia, like others, is caused when the body is put under strain, such as lifting something heavy, and the intestines or fatty tissue ruptures through a weak point in the abdominal muscle wall. The second most common type of hernia is a femoral hernia, which is located lower down in the abdomen near the groin. A sign of a femoral hernia comes as a painful lump near the upper thigh or groin, which can be pushed back in with the finger to make it disappear temporarily. Hernias almost never go away on their own, and by leaving them untreated, patients are forced to live in pain and discomfort, at best. At worst, an untreated hernia can lead to a life-threatening condition or death. As such, most people rightly choose to have their hernias treated with surgery. Surgical hernia mesh is used in almost all types of hernia repairs.
Depending on the type of hernia and the size, the following types of mesh may be used:
In addition to type of hernia mesh, various meshes are also made out of different materials, which serve different purposes. Meshes can be made of synthetic fibers or animal material, can be coated with fatty acids or cellulose, and may be absorbable or permanent.
Hernia mesh may be the most common way to fix moderate to large hernias, but this type of medical device is not without its own set of dangers. Not all hernia meshes are high quality products. In fact, thousands of people end up dealing with pain, discomfort, bowel obstruction, or other issues following the placement of hernia mesh within their bodies. Drug Watch lists the most common and serious types of hernia complications as the following:
Other adverse hernia mesh complications include contraction, in which the hernia mesh actually shrinks in size, and migration, in which the mesh moves from its original place inside the body to a different area. In some rare cases, migration can be life-threatening. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine reported on a patient who had to be placed in intensive care when he suffered multi-organ failure due to mesh migration. The mesh migration caused erosion into the urinary bladder, causing a hole between the bladder and abdominal wall, causing sepsis. When the patient’s condition from organ failure was finally stabilized, surgeons had to repair the urinary bladder and remove excess abdominal flesh from the patient.
According to Health Canada and reported on by CTV News, 12 brands of hernia mesh have been recalled in Canada since the year 2000. According to Drug Watch, more than 200,000 mesh units have been recalled since 2005. There have been multiple deaths and hundreds of serious injuries and complications caused by hernia mesh, which can bunch up inside the body instead of lying flat, or can even move around inside the body to different areas. Some patients who have undergone hernia mesh surgery live with life-long pain, discomfort, and other complications like bowel function, even after the mesh is removed. Some studies have found that has many as 10% to 20% of hernia mesh patients are left with chronic pain.
The global hernia mesh market was estimated to be worth $4.04 billion USD in 2017. After all, hernia mesh is used in nine out of 10 hernia surgeries. Some physicians believe that hernia mesh is the only viable solution to a hernia, or they believe that it is simply the best type of repair. This may be true for many patients, but there are certainly other options. These include the following:
If you are struggling with pain, discomfort, or another side effect of hernia mesh, you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine what the problem is. Hernia mesh can be removed, and if necessary, other procedures may be able to repair damage caused by the mesh. If you suffer a future hernia, one of the above methods may be used to repair the rip or hole. However, you should not be stuck with any bills, lost wages, or other damages caused by the defective hernia mesh.
As a victim who has suffered pain, discomfort, or any other medical complication caused by hernia mesh, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer of the dangerous product. Or, if the mesh was placed improperly or a surgeon made another error during your operation or diagnosis, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice. Damages that you can file a claim for include the following:
It may seem pretty clear to you that you have been wronged, that your damages are severe, and that the negligent party should pay for their mistakes. Unfortunately, no personal injury claim or medical device claim is straightforward, and no insurance company will ever hand over the amount of money you deserve without a fight. Not only do you have to contend with the manufacturer of the hernia mesh, but victims of hernia mesh injuries are up against powerful insurance companies with teams of lawyers when they file for damages. A lawyer will compile all of your damages, will pursue all available policies, and will negotiate with the other party to hopefully reach a beneficial settlement offer. When such an offer is not agreed upon by the manufacturer’s insurance carrier, a lawsuit can be filed.
With so much at stake, we here at the Preszler Law Firm strongly encourage hernia mesh victims to seek experienced legal assistance throughout this process of compensation. A lawyer will advocate for you every step of the way, explain your options and where your case stands throughout the negotiations and discovery, and will keep your best interests at the forefront no matter what. Medical device corporations and insurance companies have virtually limitless power and resources to dispense—with all of it aimed at quieting you in the hopes that you will either go away or take a small settlement. At Preszler Law, we regulary fight and win lawsuits against billion-dollar companies and know that having a lawyer in your corner is an invaluable weapon in your quest for financial justice.
Hernia mesh complications are nothing to wish on even one’s worst enemy. Extreme pain, infection, organ damage, and obstructed bowels are just some of the conditions that our patients have had to deal with. The pain and discomfort, recovery time from additional surgeries, and emotional distress caused by defective hernia mesh detracts from quality of life, career opportunities, childcare, and ability to perform household chores. You deserve to be fairly compensated for all of your damages, and our hernia mesh lawyers are here to make sure that happens as soon as possible. Call or contact the British Columbia law offices of the Preszler Law Firm today at 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer today.