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My Hernia Was Missed – What Should I Do Now?

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 24/06/2014

A hernia can cause a lot of pain and suffering but many people are unaware of what it actually is and how it may affect you long term if misdiagnosed or left untreated.

What is a Hernia?

A hernia happens when an internal part of the body, sometimes a part of the bowel or fatty tissue, pushes though a weak muscle in the abdomen.

There are several categories of hernia, but the following are the most common ones that you need to be aware of:

  • Inguinal hernia – when a part of the bowel pokes through the lower abdomen
  • Femoral hernia – affecting the inner thigh/groin area
  • Umbilical hernia – when the hernia pushes through close to the belly button
  • Hiatus hernia – part of the stomach pushes into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm

Hernias can be caused by a multitude of problems, but the most common causes include lifting heavy things, your age, having a cough over long periods of time and long term constipation. If your work requires you to lift or move a lot of heavy objects, it is paramount that you receive proper training to do so. Lifting and pulling heavy objects cannot only pull muscles, but can cause hernias whilst working.

Women are more likely to develop internal hernias and so they are easily missed. Due to this, they go on untreated or misdiagnosed as problems with the reproductive organs.

Treating Your Hernia

Although umbilical hernias in babies will usually heal themselves over a number of years, generally all hernias require surgery to fix the problem. It's possible to live with a hernia if you monitor it closely however, in some cases if left untreated it can lead to serious consequences. In a worst case scenario, that part of your bowel may become 'strangulated' and die or it may rupture and lead to a leakage of fluids and an infection called peritonitis.

Any of these instances are a medical emergency and should be treated as such by your GP, hospital or walk-in centre.

Missing Your Hernia

When diagnosed and treated properly, a hernia will not leave any lasting damage to your body. However, when it is left, missed, misdiagnosed or not treated appropriately there can be damaging effects.

Hernias are located using an ultra-sound. If your ultrasound was not performed correctly leading to a life threatening situation, you should know that you may be able to claim for medical negligence compensation.

Other instances in which you may have a claim include missing the symptoms of your hernia, hernia surgery causing damage to nerves around the area of the hernia and ineffective surgery leading to the hernia returning and more surgery having to follow.

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