If you suffered complications as a result of hernia surgery, contact us with any questions you may have by calling (440) 333-3800.
What Is a Hernia and What Causes Them?
As WebMD states, a hernia occurs when “pressure (from lifting something heavy, straining during a bowel movement, or sneezing/coughing) pushes an organ or tissue through [an] opening or weak spot.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, “There isn’t always an obvious cause. Some are hereditary or linked to weakness in the abdominal wall that may happen at birth when the abdomen lining doesn’t close properly.” A patient may also suffer an incisional hernia after abdominal surgery, an inguinal hernia, or a hiatal hernia. Being overweight or lifting heavy weight can worsen the problem.
Statistics and Surgical Risks
“More than a million patients a year undergo surgery for some kind of hernia,” WSJ reported February 28, 2012. “About 80 percent are so-called inguinal hernias in the groin area.”
Men are more likely than women to suffer an inguinal hernia, according to healthy.net. In fact, they have more than a 25 percent chance of developing one. “In contrast, women are more likely to suffer from a femoral hernia, where a section of bowel forces its way through the relatively weak muscle ring at the femoral canal, at the top of the thigh.”
Surgeons repair a hernia in one of two ways: via a large incision, or “open surgery,” or via a keyhole-sized incision called laparoscopy. Per healthy.net, the surgeon patches the above-mentioned opening or weak spot with body tissue or mesh. “[I]n either surgery, small nerves can be irritated by the procedure or the repair mesh as well as by sutures or tacks used to hold the mesh against the abdominal wall,” WSJ‘s Informed Patient columnist Laura Landro stated.
Many people continue to suffer chronic, even debilitating pain after hernia surgery, and your doctor/surgeon should discuss this risk before scheduling your operation.
Unfortunately, every surgical procedure presents the possibility of an anesthesia overdose, an infection, or a mistake, such as a sponge or clamp left inside the patient. Sometimes victims don’t realize the latter until years later, when they begin to feel pain or undergo an X-ray for some other reason. Though the statute of limitations is one year for medical malpractice in Ohio, a foreign object left inside the body extends that statute to four years overall and one year from the date of discovery or date when it should have reasonably been discovered. This can get confusing, so attorney Chris Mellino invites you to contact our Cleveland office for clarification.
Healthy.net reporter Michelle Clare outlined several additional risks, including:
- misplaced staples;
- nerve damage;
- blood clots; and
- repeat surgery if stitches fail.
“Keyhole repair is very risky,” Clare wrote. Since the surgeon relies on watching a video screen to see what he or she is doing, it’s easy to perforate the bladder or bowel. “A study of 90 patients who had undergone keyhole surgery for their hernia recorded four incidents of bowel injury. Of these patients, one developed sepsis (overwhelming infection) and multi-organ failure, and died. Other studies have reported death rates of 0.6 to 3.4 percent, which means that, out of every 100 patients, more than three could die.”
Hernia Surgery Lawsuits: Studies, Statistics, and News
In a recent review of 44 hernia-related medical malpractice lawsuits, surgeons failed to obtain informed consent in seven cases, they left objects inside patients another seven times, five people died, and four developed an infection, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
“Most (64 percent) patients initiating malpractice litigation were male, and inguinal, hiatal, and ventral hernia repairs account[ed] for 39 percent, 27 percent, and 14 percent of cases, respectively,” researchers stated. “The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff in 12 of 44 (27 percent) suits, with compensation ranging from roughly $19,000 to $8 million.”
In 2003, a 57-year-old man sued his hernia surgeon for perforating his small intestine.
“The surgeon noted that he had punctured the outer layer of the plaintiff’s intestine during surgery but didn’t think it was deep enough to cause a problem,” Renal and Urology News reported November 20, 2013.
That patient wound up suffering organ failure, three additional surgeries, and bed sores that permanently disabled him. Ten years later, a jury awarded him $5.2 million, and they awarded $1.2 million to his wife, who quit her job in order to take care of him.
Speak with Attorney Chris Mellino About Your Hernia Surgery
If you have questions about post-hernia surgery injuries, such as nerve damage, contact us for a free consultation, to discuss results we’ve achieved in similar cases, and whether you still have time to file a claim under Ohio law.