New Hernia Lawsuit Highlights Growing Complaints

After a Louisiana man was forced to undergo multiple revision surgeries as a result of his hernia repair—which used a hernia mesh made by C.R. Bard—he filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer as well as its subsidiary, Davol, Inc. Randy A. Roberts, Sr., claims that after receiving a Bard hernia mesh implant in 2006 to repair his incisional hernia, he was simply never the same afterwards, suffering pain and inflammation, and, as a result, had to undergo one revision surgery after another, changing his life forever.

Patient lying on gurney before surgery in hospital corridor

Roberts also dealt with many infections from his hernia mesh, and claims that each of his medical issues which occurred after his original hernia surgery were the direct result of the flawed design of the Monofilament Knitted Polypropylene Mesh made by Bard.

After several unsuccessful surgeries, and a steady increase in pain and swelling in the abdominal region, Roberts returned yet again to the hospital in May 2017. During one of his earlier surgical procedures, Roberts received a diagnosis of an abdominal wall abscess in his umbilical hernia sac. Yet another surgical procedure revealed bacteria contamination of the hernia mesh. Because the mesh was imbedded in surrounding organs, surgeons were unable to remove it entirely. Surgeons told Roberts after his most recent surgery that he now faces a significantly increased risk of having his original problem—a hernia—recur since the mesh could not be removed.

This was not the first time Roberts had been told his hernia mesh was infected. In August 2015, Roberts’ doctors found an infection which turned out to have a strong resistance to the antibiotics used. During the 2015 surgery, when the first attempt to remove the mesh took place, a fistula was discovered. It was impossible at the time for the doctors to determine whether all the mesh had been removed, as it had grown so deeply into other parts of Roberts’ body.

The complaint filed by Roberts states that, prior to his initial hernia surgery, he was a completely healthy 35-year-old man, who owned a successful granite installation business. The lawsuit states that Roberts never fully recovered from his surgeries due to the mesh—and will likely be required to undergo further surgical procedures in the future.

More Mesh Lawsuits

There are a growing number of lawsuits filed against manufacturers of hernia mesh. In addition to C.R. Bard, there are claims against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Ethicon and Atrium Medical for its C-Qur hernia mesh. C.R. Bard manufactures Marlex, Ventralex, and Ventralight ST hernia implants, as well as Monofilament Knitted Propylene Mesh used in Roberts’ hernia repair. Ethicon manufactures Physiomesh, which is facing hundreds of lawsuits after the mesh was withdrawn from the market in March 2016.

Hernia Mesh Complications

Although hernia complications are relatively common, it appears these complications are much more likely among patients implanted with surgical hernia mesh. To be clear, studies have shown that while those who have their hernias repaired with hernia mesh are less likely to have a recurrence of their hernia, they are more likely to have mesh-related complications. Since about 90 percent of the more than one million hernia repairs performed each year use hernia mesh, this has become a serious issue. Some of the complications of hernia mesh can actually be life-threatening, and, at the very least, require additional surgical procedures to correct. The FDA lists the following complications as those which are reported most often by patients implanted with hernia mesh:

  • Adhesions (mesh sticking to the intestines)
  • A recurrence of the hernia
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Bowel blockage
  • Autoimmune reactions to the mesh
  • Abnormal connections between organs known as fistulas
  • Perforation of other organs
  • Pain
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Shrinkage of the mesh
  • Migration of the mesh
  • Rejection of the mesh
  • A buildup of fluid at the surgical site
  • Tenderness at the surgical site

These complications can be severely painful (at best) or even life-threatening. Adhesions can be particularly problematic. Adhesions are scar-like tissues which stick together—when the hernia repair mesh sticks to the intestines, deadly bowel obstructions could occur. Some research indicates that as many as 21 percent of those who have had hernia repair using mesh required additional surgical procedures to remove a part of the bowel after the implant cause intestinal adhesions. Although several manufacturers of hernia mesh have attempted to develop different finishes which would stop the problem of adhesions, no solution has been found.

Bowel obstructions are another serious issue for those who have had hernia surgery with hernia mesh. When the intestines become blocked—either fully or partially—a bowel obstruction can occur. Vomiting and nausea, as well as an inability to have a bowel movement are the symptoms of a bowel obstruction, which is a very serious issue, requiring immediate treatment. If the obstruction is not addressed immediately, the blood flow to the intestines can be cut off, causing at least a part of the intestines to die. Hernia mesh can adhere to the intestines, where it can form an adhesion, or it can entrap the intestine loops.

If the mesh is one of the types which have “rings,” which can break and puncture the abdominal wall, a perforation of the bowel can occur. When a bowel perforation occurs, fecal matter and bacteria can potentially enter the abdominal cavity, causing swelling or an infection in the blood stream known as sepsis, which can be fatal.

While infections around the site of the original hernia surgical site can be treated with antibiotics, some people will develop recurring infections in areas surrounding the mesh, which can result in the necessity for additional surgical procedures to try and take the mesh out, as well as IV antimicrobial treatments.

In some patients, the mesh detached following the initial hernia surgery, then migrated throughout the abdominal cavity. Should the mesh come into direct contact with the gallbladder or intestines, it could perforate the organ, create an abscess, or create a bowel obstruction.

It is expected that the number of hernia mesh lawsuits will continue to increase as time passes, and more injuries related to the hernia mesh are discovered. If you or a loved one developed injuries after having hernia surgery in which hernia mesh was used, it could be helpful to have an experienced Mississippi product liability attorney review the facts and determine whether you have a valid claim against the manufacturer.

At Coxwell & Associates, PLLC, our attorneys believe in fighting aggressively for injured Mississippi hernia mesh patients and their families – to ensure that they receive the money they need to fully recover. Contact Coxwell & Associates today at (601) 265-7766 or click on the button below.

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.

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