Hernias are one of the most common injuries in the medical industry. In the United States, there are an average of 500,000 cases each year.
Hernias are repaired by surgery, and often mesh or another synthetic or biologic substance is used to correct the problem. In some cases, the device implanted can malfunction, causing further health complications.
If you had hernia surgery that led to an injury, read on to find out what your legal options are.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia is an injury that causes the organ or lining to protrude through the stomach muscles to create a bulge. There are several types of hernias, including the following:
- Ventral or abdominal hernias: These occur in the wall of the abdomen
- Incisional hernia: These happen at the incision site of a prior operation
- Inguinal hernia: These occur at the groin area
- Umbilical hernia: These occur near the naval
- Hiatal hernia: These occur where the stomach and esophagus meet
How is a Hernia Repaired?
There are several ways to repair a hernia. Repairs can be done with a suture, a biologic graft or a synthetic mesh.
The products used can be either biologic or synthetic. Biologic products are made of human tissue, skin from a cadaver, or pigskin. Synthetic products are made from manmade substances like composites, polypropylene, polyester filaments, or ePTFE membrane.
What Complications Can Occur Following a Hernia Operation?
If the device implanted in you during hernia surgery malfunctions, the following complications may occur:
- Abdominal ulcers
- Obstruction of the bowels
- Perforation of the internal organs
- Renal failure
- Allergic reactions
- Failure or erosion of the product
- Fistulas in the intestine
How Would I Know If I Have a Case Against the Hernia Device Manufacturers?
Not every hernia surgery is successful, but if the device used to repair the hernia malfunctions, you might have a case against the manufacturer.
If you think you have a case, the first thing you want to do is get in touch with the doctor that performed your surgery and ask for documentation from the medical record department regarding the procedure.
Be sure the records you obtain have information on the product number that identifies the specific mesh or patch that was used. That way, you will be able to tell whether the FDA has issued a recall for your product due to defects.
Next, have a physician examine your injuries so he or she can tell whether the defect caused them. It is essential to have the results of your examination recorded by the doctor. If the doctor determines the product caused your injuries, these records will be vital evidence that you can use to build your case.
What Have Hernia Mesh Products Been Found to Cause Injury?
Of all the hernia mesh products available on the market, there are a few that are known to cause injury. These are as follows:
- Atrium C-Qur: The FDA ordered the cessation of the manufacturing of this device due to injuries being reported.
- Bard Ventralex ST: This polypropylene mesh product has been known to cause side effects and problematic reactions in patients. Although the FDA issued warnings attached, the product does not have any of these warnings included in their packaging.
- Ethicon Physiomesh: Studies conducted on this product showed that there was a high reoccurrence of hernias after this product was used. The manufacturer voluntarily removed it from shelves due to these findings.
More on Physiomesh
Physiomesh is a hernia repair product that is made by Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It is made of polypropylene, the same material used to make a transvaginal mesh.
Both the transvaginal mesh and the hernia repair product has had multiple complaints in which both physicians and patients said the product was hazardous. Ethicon denied the product was dangerous but allegedly decided to take the product off shelves in the spring of 2016.
The product was approved by the FDA back in the spring of 2010. This involved Ethicon filing a 501(k), which allowed the product to be pushed through without rigorous studies.
In June of 2014, Ethicon came out with a variation on the Physiomesh product. In this instance, they once again used the 501(K) process for approval. The processes used, along with the fact that the product was similar to one that was previously approved, allowed it to get through approval without extensive testing as well.
Over time, Physiomesh was found to be associated with many health complications. The coatings added to the sides are intended to keep the polypropylene material from sticking to the tissues of the bowels. However, if no propylene is left exposed, the mesh will not adhere in the correct way going it to move freely around the body.
Ethicon later introduced an updated version of Physiomesh that was a relatively lower weight. The lighter material was meant to reduce the risk of side effects, but the weaker constitution made it more likely to tear after it was inserted in the patient.
Patients who were treated with Phsyiomesh experienced complications, including obstruction of the bowels, seromas, and failures in the device that led to severe injuries. Patients often required repeat surgeries because the product tore or came loose.
Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Hernia Mesh Case
If you used a hernia mesh product that you found was defective, you need an excellent lawyer to represent you. If you are looking for a lawyer in the state of Wisconsin, the Growth Law Firm is highly recommended.
The Groth Firm has years of experience in the field of personal injury law. They employ a team of investigators to make sure you get the best outcome possible. They have lawyers that take a vested interest in working for you. Their excellent communication skills ensure they are always on top of the status of your case.
If your hernia surgery is causing you more problems than your original injury, you could be dealing with a defective product. The Groth Firm will help you determine if you have a case against manufacturers, and they will see to it that you have every advantage in getting the outcome you deserve. Turn to them for all your legal injury needs.