1. Find Your Medical Records
If you think it’s possible that you may have a hernia mesh claim, there are some important steps you can take to find out for sure. First and foremost, you must figure out which variety of hernia mesh you had implanted. This is easier than you might think.
A hernia mesh, like any other medical device or implant, comes with its own packaging full of marketing material suiting such an expensive item. The box that the mesh is contained in carries all the necessary identifying details about it, including the lot number, manufacturer, and model of the mesh. The sticker that features all of that info is taken off the box and attached to the “operative report” by the surgeon. The operative report, as you might guess, is a short summary of the operation to implant your hernia mesh. Generally, the sticker featuring the mesh’s identifying info will be placed on the final page of the operative report.
Most medical providers will happily give you a copy of your operative report within a day or two. If your provider is uncooperative for some reason, you can also get in touch with an attorney and have them issue a formal request for the report, but this will take longer.
It’s also worth noting that many medical providers only keep their records for a set amount of time. It may be harder to obtain the proper records if your operation took place seven years or more in the past.
2. Find Your Hernia Mesh
Once you’ve tracked down your operative report, you should be able to figure out which hernia mesh was implanted in your operation. Take that information, and compare it to a list of hernia meshes believed to be defective and part of ongoing nationwide litigation. Here is a list broken down by manufacturers
a. Atrium: * C-Qur (including the Edge, TachShield, and Mosaic brands) * Proloop * C-Qur Mesh V-Patch * C-Qur Lite Mesh V-Patch
b. Covidien: * Parietex * Parietex ProGrip Self-Fixating Mesh * Parietex Optimized Composite Mesh * Parietex Composite Ventral Patch * Parietex Composite Open Skirt Mesh (a.k.a PCO OS Mesh) * Parietext Optimized Open Skirt Mesh * Parietex Plug and Patch System * Parietex Hydrophilic Anatomical Mesh * Parietex Composite Parastomal Mesh (a.k.a. PCO PM Mesh) * Parietex Composite Hiatal Mesh (a.k.a. PCO 2H Mesh) * Parietex Flat Sheet Mesh * Parietex Lightweight Monofilament * Parietex Folding Mesh
c. Ethicon: * Proceed * PHS * Prolene 3D * Physiomesh
d. Bard/Davol: * 3DMax Mesh * 3DMax Light Mesh * PerFix Plug * PerFix Light Plug * Bard Mesh * Marlex * Bard (Marlex) Mesh Dart * Kugel Hernia Patch * Sperma-Tex * Visilex * Composix Kugel Hernia Patch * Modified Kugel Hernia Patch * Composix * Composix L/P * Composix E/X * Sepramesh IP * Ventralex Hernia Patch * Ventrio Patch * Ventralight ST * Ventralex ST Patch * Ventrio ST
Hernia patches come in a lot of different varieties. Meshes that are made out of natural, biological materials — such as cadavers or pigs — are not included in the currently pending national litigation. The majority of meshes are created from synthetic materials such as polypropylene. The synthetic material is woven together as strands into a net that can be shaped into various forms to support the body, depending on the placement and type of hernia. Some synthetic hernia meshes are relatively healthy. There are a lot of factors that determine this, including what the mesh is made from, the size of its pores, its weight, and more.
If you have a synthetic mesh but it’s not included in the list above, it is more than likely one of these safer varieties. On the other hand, some synthetic meshes have been taken off market because of the many problems they cause. These meshes are poorly designed and seemingly driven by sales rather than ensuring its users actually get and remain healthy. In one egregious example, fish oil was used to coat a popular hernia mesh. This mesh has been discontinued.
3. Determine If You Need Revision Surgery
If your hernia mesh is on the list of allegedly defective meshes, you’re still not quite ready to join the pending lawsuits. First, you must prove that your mesh requires revision surgery, thus causing damages that you should be compensated for. There are many problems that can happen over time with defective hernia meshes. For example, they can roll up, bunch, puncture, or migrate. Defective meshes can lead to adhesions (excess scar tissue), infections, and countless other problems if they interact with your internal tissues and organs.
It’s not uncommon from someone who has suffered a hernia to have a recurring hernia or a second hernia in a different part of the body. This in and of itself is not proof that your hernia mesh is defective, and is not always able to be attributed to the mesh. Instead, you must prove that your mesh is actually in need of revision. Revision is when a doctor must perform surgery a second time in order to mend or remove the defective mesh — either in pieces or in full.
4. Get In Touch With An Attorney
Once you’ve settled both that your hernia mesh is on the list of defective meshes and that it will require revision, there’s just one last step: You need a lawyer. Rather than reaching out to the first attorney you find, do some research. You should be able to find some law firms that are focused specifically on hernia mesh lawsuits. It’s worth it to go with a group of attorneys who are experts in this area rather than any random lawyer you saw on a billboard.
That being said, you also should not drag your feet. Certain statutes of limitation and various deadlines may apply to your situation, so it’s best to get your claim moving as soon as possible. If a defective hernia mesh implant was used in your surgery, you deserve compensation. Don’t risk waiting too long and losing what you’re owed. Call us today.