Canada: Hernia Mesh Surgeries, Defective Mesh And Disability Benefits

Last Updated: December 18 2017
Article by Paul Miller and Brad Moscato

Advances in surgical hernia repair procedures have dramatically reduced the amount of time many patients spend in recovery.

But hernia mesh has also caused serious complications, which has resulted in individuals experiencing significant additional medical problems. Sometimes, this has resulted in a loss of one's ability to return to work.

This blog will discuss hernia mesh surgeries, defective mesh and long term disability benefit for those who are unable to work due to complications from defective mesh.

Hernia Mesh Surgery: Recovery Times

Prior to the 1960s, some patients would be advised to spend up to three weeks on strict bed rest, and as many as nine weeks convalescing to avoid the risk of recurrence. When it was discovered that modern non-absorbable sutures could provide about 70% of intact tissue strength immediately following surgery, doctors generally agreed that a return to normal levels of activity was possible – though not always advised – much earlier.1

With the introduction of surgical hernia mesh and less invasive surgical techniques, doctors could confidently encourage the resumption of normal activity and a return to work even faster. Patients who have had laparoscopic repairs now tend to have a recovery period of about 10-14 days, while patients with hernias corrected through larger incisions take an average of 19-21 days to recover and return to work.2

But while hernia mesh has been praised for reducing the risk of recurrence, minimizing recovery times, and speeding your return to work, defective hernia mesh has the potential to put you out of commission for an extended period.

Below we review complications from defective hernia mesh that may require you to access disability benefits.

Common Complication from Defective Mesh

Defective mesh products have been reported to cause a variety of complications with a varying range of severity. Some of these side-effects include:

  • Mesh erosion and migration through surrounding tissue
  • Chronic pain from nerve damage, inflammation and irritation
  • Abscesses or infections
  • Adhesions
  • Bowel obstructions
  • Scarring
  • Hernia recurrence

Some of these complications may be so severe that corrective or revision surgery is necessary. Although revision surgery can sometimes fix the issues a patient is experiencing, for some there is lasting damage or long-term problems. Chronic pain, for example, may make regular employment impossible to maintain.

Long-Term Disability Benefits

If complications from a hernia mesh surgery is affecting your ability to work for a prolonged period of time (beyond what is covered by sick leave or short-term disability benefits – also called a qualifying period), you may be eligible to claim long-term disability benefits.

LTD benefits, offered by your employer or purchased through a private insurance plan, are provided to a claimant based on eligibility, level of disability/function, and whether the appropriate level of treatment and rehabilitation is being sought.

Insurance plans provide coverage to individuals based on a person meeting the disability test during the own occupation period (typically the first 24 months of disability) and the any occupation period (typically following the 24 month period in many group insurance plans). Applications for these benefits require detailed and complete medical documentation, and denials for a variety of reasons are possible.

Denied Long-Term Disability Benefits?

If you have been denied long-term disability benefits relating to complications from defective hernia mesh or have concerns during the application and/or appeals process, you may want to consult with a personal injury lawyer or firm with expertise in and knowledge of both LTD claims and defective medical products, such as Howie, Sacks & Henry.

As a victim of defective hernia mesh, you may already be considering whether to take part in the hernia mesh lawsuit against the mesh manufacturer.

You should also strongly consider pursuing LTD benefits if they were unfairly denied to you. While this may seem overwhelming at first blush, having an LTD lawyer in your corner as your advocate will take that stress away while your benefits are pursued and achieved which will allow you to focus on your health and recovery.

Footnotes

1 http://www.bcmj.org/articles/timing-return-work-after-hernia-repair-recommendations-based-literature-review

2 http://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/hernia-surgery-recovery-times-worksafebc-claimants-off-the-job-a-lot-longer-than-the-rest-of-us

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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