With today’s medical advancements, hernia surgeries can be performed at the outpatient level. The often are— at the rate of roughly 800,000 operations a year. For the patient, there is often no need to stay over night at the hospital and incur additional medical expense and time off from work. Patients can prepare for the operation by undergoing hours of fasting, and making sure a relative or friend is available for a ride home. It may sound like we have nothing to worry about when considering an operation that occurs so frequently. How can we be sure?
In the course of hernia surgery, surgeons often use surgical mesh to strengthen the hernia repair and reduce the rate of recurrence. This mesh is meant to improve the outcome for the patient, making the operation more efficient, and minimizing the time it takes a patient to recover. However, while used frequently; surgical mesh is not without failure. The Food and Drug Administration cites many complications with hernia mesh—alarmingly associated with recalled mesh products no longer on the market. We trust our surgeons to use only the best products when we are in their hands. What happens when the product is recalled or outdated?
One patient who underwent a hernia operation involving mesh indicates he felt great for the first six months, but then started feeling pain with itching and redness. After debilitating pain and trips to the emergency rooms, the mesh was finally replaced with another material. Might you have a case if you have had a hernia operation that involves a mesh product? Here are some things you can do before you meet with your New York attorney who can help you settle your medical error case.
- Consider your likelihood as a candidate for this type of surgery. Are you in a high risk group? Were you presented with challenges and successes?
- Did your doctor or surgeon present you with other options? Did they explain the pros and cons of using a mesh product?
- Obtain medical documentation from the surgeon or doctor that shows that mesh went bad and caused problems. Note: these professionals may not be willing to provide this information readily.
- Document all statements from the doctor or surgeon involved in your surgery. Be sure you have someone present to witness some of the statements.
- If your hospital will accommodate your request, have the mesh saved and frozen. Photos of the mesh are especially helpful if you have an iPhone handy.
- If you are lucky enough, you might be able to obtain a report from a pathologist indicating the mesh caused the damage. This report could be critical to your case.
As with any surgery, the need for us to be our own advocates is imperative. We trust our doctors and surgeons, but they are often overloaded, overworked and overtired. Taking the time to do homework on your own behalf may mean the difference between life and death on the operating table.
If you or someone you know has undergone a surgery involving a recalled product, or was involved in a situation involving medical errors, your attorney will be able to assist you with the process from start to finish. Be sure you are in the best hands when it comes to your health, safety and future.