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Medical Negligence
Hernias

Hernias

Hernias are a particularly common condition, with the NHS performing more than 100,000 repairs every year. While the majority of these incidents are treated successfully, there are unfortunately times when medical staff make mistakes, and leaving a patient to suffer further pain and discomfort.

What Is A Hernia?

A hernia is when an internal part of the body protrudes through a weakness in the muscle or tissue wall. There are many types of hernia, but most commonly they occur when the intestines push through the abdominal wall. Ordinarily, the abdominal wall acts as a protective layer, keeping all the organs and surrounding tissue in place. However, if there is a weak spot for example, because there is a small tear then the intestine will bulge through the gap and create an externally visible lump on the skin.

How Do You Get A Hernia?

Because there are many different types of hernia, there are a number of ways in which they can develop. However, the most frequently treated hernia is an 'inguinal hernia', whereby a section of the intestine projects through the lower part of the abdomen, causing a lump in the groin. Such hernias are often caused by something that has increased the pressure in the abdomen. For example: lifting heavy weights, coughing or even straining on the toilet.

Anyone can suffer a hernia, although you are more at risk if you already have a weakness (eg. around the umbilicus from birth, causing an 'umbilical hernia') or if you are:-

  • Male;
  • Middle aged or over;
  • Obese;
  • Do a lot of heavy lifting;
  • Have a chronic cough;
  • Have chronic constipation.

Hernia Symptoms and Treatment

Hernias often have very few symptoms. Normally, the first sign will be the feeling of something having given way, along with some additional pain. Subsequently, a lump may appear which usually gets larger when you cough.

If you suspect you have a hernia, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. That is because while in most cases a hernia does not pose too much of a threat, there is the possibility it becomes strangulated, in which the blood supply to the protruding piece of tissue is cut off. Furthermore, there is a chance a hernia will cause an obstruction in the bowel. In either event, emergency surgery will be necessary.

More often that not, a hernia can be diagnosed and assessed with an ultrasound scan. Once found to be present, medical professionals will need to consider the most suitable mode of treatment. While some can be treated with medication alone, it is normally appropriate for hernias to be repaired with surgery.

Hernias and Medical Negligence

Hernias are often successfully diagnosed and treated without incident, allowing a patient to make a swift and permanent recovery. However, occasionally mistakes are made by medical professionals during the treatment of hernias, which may include:-

  • A failure to diagnose a hernia which goes on to cause complications eg. bowel obstruction or strangulation;
  • Failure to treat a hernia;
  • Wrong-site surgery;
  • Internal damage, eg. to organs or tissue;
  • Weakness caused by other surgery, which then results in a hernia eg. accidental incision to abdomen during removal of the appendix.

If any of the above has happened to you, or if you believe your hernia was treated negligently, contact a medical negligence solicitor today. It may be that the care provided to you fell below an acceptable standard. If so, you will be able to claim compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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