In a previous blog, we discussed the symptoms of post-op hernia mesh infection, how to identify them and what legal recourse - if any - is available if you have suffered from this type of complication. But what about hernia mesh problems that arrive not immediately, but years later? Thankfully, for those who have suffered pain and complications following treatments, legal proceedings are very much possible. Over the past decade, successful cases involving hernia mesh problems have seen a dramatic increase.
Can I Claim Compensation For My Hernia Mesh Complications?
The short answer is yes, but there are many provisos that dictate the extent of claims you can make. However, if you have suffered injury or ill health as a result of a hernia mesh repair, it is possible to sue for the following damages:
- Pain you have suffered, and costs associated with any treatment received and with your recovery period.
- Loss of income as a result of your surgical mesh usage, including lost wages leading up to and after treatment for hernia mesh complications.
- Future loss of income or reduction of your earning potential.
- Any past or future medical expenses caused by hernia mesh complications. These costs may include infection treatments, additional surgery or chronic pain care.
- Punitive damages, where applicable.
Even as many as five years after a hernia repair, pain and complications in hernia mesh operations have been successfully brought through the legal system. In many cases, patients suffer from defective mesh products or are given mesh operations that should never have been performed in the first place. The attorneys’ argument is as simple as it is effective: that these defective products have directly caused serious pain or major complications post patients, sometimes requiring additional surgery. The improper use of mesh products - especially in cases where simple sutures would have worked - has caused patients daily pain and they should be entitled to compensation.
Why Use Mesh?
Hernia sufferers often require additional surgery to fix the original hernia repairs. Doctors have tried to prevent this by strengthening their repairs using surgical mesh, and while sutures generally result in fewer complications, surgical mesh has become an increasingly popular tool.
Hernia Mesh vs Sutures
One of the major downsides of using mesh for hernia or other internal repairs is that mesh can move around or shrink, causing organ damage or bowel perforations. This can lead to complications requiring further surgery for the patient - and if the mesh product is substandard or faulty, the chances of infection or other complications are greatly increased.
The Important Legal Issue
When it comes to pharmaceuticals in the US, the Food and Drug Administration is required to prove their long term safety. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all medical devices, including the hernia mesh.
These mesh devices are approved along with many other non-medical devices, and so there is no requirement for companies to perform the necessary clinical trials that properly test the safety and effectiveness of their products. However, as successful litigation has shown in recent years, the manufacturers of mesh devices often promote their products for unnecessary usage. For example, repairing smaller hernias does not require mesh: these can be repaired through laparoscopic surgery and stitches. This has resulted in many patients suffering from complications caused directly or in part by their mesh devices, even though they didn’t need them in the first place, which serves the basis for a compelling legal argument.
How Do I Know If My Complications Are As A Result Of The Mesh?
While recovering from your hernia operation, it is usually fairly simple for a doctor to determine if your symptoms are from the hernia mesh or not. However, this process becomes more difficult with time; but even years later there are several techniques that doctors can use to determine the role of hernia mesh in your suffering. These include x-rays, reverse imaging, CT scans and barium swallows.
At Coxwell, we will take a close look at your case and all the evidence to ascertain the validity of your case to help you with whatever course you decide to take. Our investigation will be as thorough as possible: scrutinising your procedure, medical history, and even the product itself to make sure it has passed all compliance testing and quality control before it was released to market. Hernia mesh complications can be nightmarish, but with proper legal counsel and the right people on your side, you can take back your life.
If you require more information or need some legal advice on your situation regarding surgical mesh complications, do not hesitate to call us, your local legal specialists.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.