Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Bowel Injury Caused by Hernia Repair Surgery
Hernia surgery is common and has positive patient outcomes the vast majority of the time. This is no comfort to the two percent of ventral hernia surgery patients that experience bowel injuries as result of the procedure however. Bowel injuries can lead to serious complications including sepsis and fistulas and even death. Bowel injuries also increase the length of the hospital stay after hernia surgery from four to seven days and increases the likelihood of reoperations and readmissions.
Bowel injury caused by hernia repair surgery
When a bowel injury happens during hernia surgery, the surgeon must decide if it is best to repair primarily or resect the bowel, go ahead with definitive hernia repair with mesh, or stop the procedure and repair primarily the hernia defect.
Data from a national hernia surgery database called the Americas Hernia Society Quality Collaborative, reveals information about 5,916 patients who underwent a ventral hernia repair in the years 2013-2017. In the study group there were 110 full-thickness bowel injuries (1.9 percent). Sixty-four percent of these injured patients underwent a primary repair while 36 percent required bowel resection. The patients who were more vulnerable to bowel injuries from hernia surgery were those who were older, had bigger hernia defects, had recurrent repairs, mesh or active infection, and/or a history of abdominal wound infection.
Medical malpractice claim for hernia surgery
Surgical errors are a common type of medical malpractice claim. Like all types of medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff will need to prove four elements to prevail upon an action of negligence, typically with the help of a medical malpractice lawyer:
- A duty of care. A healthcare provider owes a duty of care to his or her patients. Proving that there was a duty of care is usually shown through the existence of a doctor-patient relationship when the patient received healthcare services. The situation is usually only complicated if there was a consulting physician who did not treat the patient directly.
- The healthcare provider was negligent. Medical malpractice means that the doctor was not reasonably skilled, competent or careful in their diagnosis or treatment of a patient’s healthcare needs. The plaintiff must prove that this misdiagnosis or erroneous treatment or lack of treatment caused harm that a different doctor would not have caused. Note that an unsatisfactory outcome is not enough to prove negligence. In most states, your lawyer will prove a deviation from the accepted standard of care by presenting the testimony of an expert medical witness.
- The doctor’s negligence caused the injury. Since most people go to a doctor when they are already sick, it is imperative that the doctor’s negligence caused the injury, not the illness itself. Medical malpractice attorneys must present a medical expert to testify that the doctor’s negligence caused the death or injury.
- The injury led to specific damages. It is not enough to prove that the doctor’s performance was below a reasonable standard of care; the patient must have suffered specific damages as a result of negligent care. Damages include physical pain and suffering, medical bills, lost work and earning capacity, disability, disfigurement and mental anguish.
Seek the help of a medical malpractice attorney
If you were injured because of medical negligence or lost a loved one due to a preventable medical error, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced medical malpractice attorney fight for justice on your behalf. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a medical negligence lawyer. Call the most experienced practicing medical malpractice attorneys Bellingham has at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing people injured by medical negligence in Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!