If you are one of the thousands of victims in Ontario who have suffered a hernia mesh injury, you are not alone. The Preszler Law Firm has a strong success rate of suing insurance companies or manufacturing companies and securing fair compensation for our clients. We urge you to consider working with an experienced Ontario hernia mesh injury lawyer before you make any decisions about the future.
Medical manufacturers and hospitals are quick to make low settlement offers, whereas we will pursue the full and true amount that you are owed. The damages that many hernia mesh survivors suffer are usually not realized until much further down the road when the full extent of your injuries are known, so accepting any offer too soon will forever prevent their ability to pursue fair compensation.
What is a Hernia?
Many people assume that lifting a heavy object, straining on the toilet, or coughing heavily was the cause of their hernia. While this may have been the final straw that caused the intestine or fatty tissue to push through the abdominal wall, hernias are almost always caused by a birth defect in the abdomen, or due to the patient’s pelvic anatomy. When a weakness or hole is present in the abdominal muscle wall, there is an increased chance of the intestines or other tissue being pushed through that hole, which is called a hernia. Hernias are common and are usually not life threatening, unless they are left untreated and infection spreads through the body. However, hernias cause pain and discomfort and require surgical intervention for recovery.
Inguinal and Femoral Hernias are the Most Common Types
The most common types of hernias are inguinal hernias and femoral hernias. Inguinal hernias, which occur in 25% of men at some point in their lives, happen near the groin at the inguinal canal within the abdomen. There are two types of inguinal hernias, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
- An indirect inguinal hernia is caused by a congenital defect in the abdominal wall that may or may not have been present at birth. Most indirect inguinal hernias occur in children and young adults before the age of 30, though they can form later in life, as well;
- A direct inguinal hernia, which typically only occurs in adult males, is caused by a weakness in the abdominal wall that happens over time. This type of inguinal hernia is much more common in older men, as the muscles in the abdomen weaken with age.
Femoral hernias, which are more rare than inguinal hernias but are still the second most common type of hernia, are caused when a fatty tissue or intestine pushes through the patient’s bowel into the groin near the inner thigh, according to NHS. This region is referred to as the femoral canal. Femoral hernias are more likely to occur in women due to the wider shape of the pelvis, and they affect older women more frequently than young women.
Other Types of Hernias
The less common types of hernias include the following, according to UCSF General Surgery:
- Incisional hernia, which occurs at an incision or scar at the abdomen;
- Ventral hernia, which occurs in the abdominal wall or ventral wall;
- Umbilical hernia, which occurs at the belly button; and
- Hiatal hernia, which occurs within the abdomen and along the upper stomach or diaphragm.
Hernias are easily diagnosable. In fact, most people become aware of the hernia immediately. Some hernias are visible to the eye in the form of a bulge or lump that disappears when the patient pushes down on it with a finger. Other signs and symptoms of a hernia, depending on what type it is, include the following:
- Pain or discomfort at the groin;
- Pain that intensifies during lifting, coughing, or exercise, and dissipates at a resting state;
- Weakness, burning, aching, or heaviness in the groin;
- Swollen or enlarged scrotum in males;
- Inability to pass gas;
- Nausea or vomiting; and,
- A hernia bulge that suddenly turns red or purple.
Doctors are generally able to quickly and easily diagnose hernias with a physical exam, x-ray, and/or reviewing the family medical history of the patient.
A serious complication of hernia is called strangulation hernia or strangulation of the small intestine. This occurs when an untreated hernia cuts off the blood to the small intestine, strangling it. If continued to be left untreated, a strangulated hernia will kill the section of small intestine that is being strangled. Patients need to get to the emergency room immediately if they are suffering from this condition.
Hernias are unable to improve on their own. However, some patients wish to leave their hernias untreated for various reasons. With their doctor’s supervision, the hernia may be monitored for the time being to ensure that it does not grow worse or develop dangerous conditions. For older adults or people whose health is not stable, surgery may be too invasive and stressful. However, if surgery is an option, there are two forms of hernia surgery that can be performed. Laparoscopic surgery is performed by making a small incision on the abdomen through which tools and a small camera are inserted. The surgeon can use surgical mesh, or simply stitch the abdominal wall back together with sutures. An open repair surgery requires making a larger incision near the hernia. The muscles are stitched back together and the surgeon may or may not place surgical mesh at the site to increase the strength of the region and decrease the likelihood of hernia recurrence.
What is Hernia Recurrence?
Hernia mesh is a widely used medical device that helps reduce the chances of a hernia occurring in the same place as before—called hernia recurrence. Hernia recurrence is a major concern for surgeons and patients, as recurrence rates are as high as 15% according to studies, depending on the location of the hernia. Mesh reduces the chances of recurrence by adding a barrier to the abdominal wall at its weak point. The fatty tissue or intestines that pushed their way out before will have a much harder time pushing past the mesh device.
Types of Hernia Mesh
Hernia mesh, which has been used for more than half a century, is made of a thin, net-like fabric that is placed between the intestines and the abdominal wall. The type of hernia mesh that was used in your surgery will fall under the following categories:
- Synthetic: Most types of hernia mesh, like most things in our society, are created out of plastic. Synthetic hernia mesh is made of polypropylene, a cheap, versatile, and easy to make type of plastic;
- Animal product: Some hernia meshes are made of animal product, and are also called biological meshes;
- Composite material: Composite hernia meshes are made out of a mix of animal product and synthetic polypropylene;
- Absorbable: A hernia mesh that is designed to disappear after a while is made of absorbable materials. Absorbable hernia meshes do not offer the long-term structural support that permanent meshes offer; and
- Non-absorbable: Most hernia meshes are non-absorbable, meaning they are designed to stay in the body indefinitely. The most common type of hernia mesh is a non-absorbable synthetic mesh.
Hernia Mesh Injuries and Side Effects
Hernia mesh reduces the chances of recurrence, which is why the vast majority of surgeries involve the use of hernia mesh. However, there are serious complications with hernia mesh, and many products have been recalled in Canada over the years. Aside from causing pain, discomfort, and infections, hernia mesh can also migrate throughout the body, moving away from the site where it was needed and causing problems in other areas. Hernia mesh can slice through organs or cut open tissue within the body, resulting in internal bleeding and infection. Hernia mesh can also bond with body tissues, resulting in a disorder called hernia adhesion. All three of these complications can cause serious pain and even death. And, these dangerous complications are by no means rare. One study that took place in England found that between 12% and 30% of patients who were treated with hernia mesh suffered a complication. Other complications involve hernia mesh rejection, in which the body rejects the material that make up the hernia mesh; fistula formations, in which the injured organ attaches onto another body structure; scar tissue adhesions that cause pain and bowel obstruction; and hernia recurrence because some types of hernia mesh simply do not do the job for which they were designed.
Signs and Symptoms of Hernia Mesh Injuries
Just as most patients are aware of a hernia, most notice the disturbing signs and symptoms of a hernia mesh injury. These include the following:
- Pain at the site;
- Redness or swelling at the surgery site;
- Bowel obstruction (constipation);
- Difficulty urinating;
- Inability or difficulty passing gas;
- Sepsis infection, which can be deadly;
- Fever or chills;
- Nausea or vomiting; and
- Drainage at the surgery site.
Seeking Financial Compensation From the Medical Manufacturer
Many medical manufacturers reap almost unfathomable financial profits year after year. After a product has caused injuries and deaths year after year, one would assume that it would be recalled or simply banned. This is the case with some types of hernia mesh, but not all. Hernia mesh is still used in most hernia surgeries despite the known consequences. If your surgeon used hernia mesh, and that mesh caused an injury or medical complications, you may be able to sue the manufacturer, or, in some cases, the surgeon if it is found that he or she is liable for medical malpractice.
Hernia Mesh Damages for Which You can Sue the Manufacturer
If a hernia mesh caused an organ of yours to be perforated, your bowels to be obstructed, or your days to be filled with pain and discomfort out no fault of your own, then you are likely entitled to compensation. You should not be left with medical bills, lost income, or any other monetary or non-monetary damages due to a large corporation’s negligence. If you were injured by hernia mesh, you may have the right to be compensated for the following:
- Medical bills;
- Future medical bills and related costs;
- Emotional distress;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost income;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Travel expenses to and from doctor’s visits and surgery;
- Child care expenses; and
- Household cleaning and maintenance expenses.
Preszler Law Firm is Here to Help Victims of Hernia Mesh Injuries
Sepsis, bowel obstruction, organ damage—these are things that most would never wish upon their worst enemy. While the pain and suffering that you have endured is great, that does not mean that the negligent party cares or will do anything to make it right, unless they are forced to. Medical manufacturers of hernia mesh care about maximizing their profits for their shareholders at the end of the year. As such, injured parties like yourself may not even be an afterthought unless you retain legal representation.
An experienced lawyer will be able to get through to the other party and their insurance carrier to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and need. The Preszler Law Firm is accustomed to dealing with multi-billion-dollar corporations and insurance companies and our lawyers have the experience and resources needed to pursue the results that you want and need.
The Ontario Lawyer of the Preszler Law Firm can Help You Today
As a hernia mesh injury victim, the only way that you and your family will receive fair compensation is by working with an experienced lawyer. Reaching a large settlement with a medical manufacturer or winning a lawsuit takes time, patience, a prudent and full understanding of the law, and firm negotiation skills. Our lawyers possess all of those abilities. Call or contact the Ontario law offices of the Preszler Law Firm today at 416-364-2000 or 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a free consultation with a hernia mesh lawyer today. We service all of Ontario.