Hemorrhoids occur when veins in the anus and rectum become swollen or enlarged. This condition is quite painful and it is estimated that half the United States population will experience some discomfort associated with hemorrhoids by the time they reach 50 years of age. Many cases of hemorrhoids are mild, but some people will require surgery to relieve severe hemorrhoid pain.
Alternatives to Surgery
Before having surgery to relieve pain from hemorrhoids, it is important to consult a surgeon experienced in hemorrhoid care. Most surgeons remove hemorrhoids by using special instruments to cut away the hemorrhoid. Once the hemorrhoid is gone, the surgeon will stitch the wound closed. The average recovery time from this procedure is about 2 weeks, during which the patient should avoid straining and lifting heavy objects. Patients should also increase their water and fiber intake. A stool softener may also be prescribed.
Risks Involved with Hemorrhoid Surgery
While hemorrhoid surgery is generally safe, there are some risks involved. Hemorrhoid surgery is performed under general anesthesia during when the patient is asleep, which can be risky. Other risks include infection, damage to the rectum, and injury to the muscles in the rectum. Patients who develop complications from this surgery may also suffer serious pain and possible fecal incontinence.
Hemorrhoid surgery must be performed by a skilled surgeon, however, there is always a chance of human error. If a surgeon fails to remove all hemorrhoids it could result in a gangrenous infection which can be fatal. If too much rectal muscle is cut away, it can cause severe pain that could last for years. When doctor error causes fecal incontinence, patients often fear going out of their home due to the fact that they cannot control their bowel movements.
Patients who suffer damage after hemorrhoid surgery may have the right to sue the attending physician for medical malpractice as a result of negligence. This may allow patients to recover damages for lost income, pain and suffering and medical expenses. Patients may not be able to sue their doctor in every instance; therefore, it is important to consult a competent medical malpractice attorney for advice.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney will handle the legal issues regarding the case, as well as consult experts that may be able to testify regarding the medical issues in the case. Not all malpractice cases go to trial, patients may seek restitution through arbitration or mediation. Most medical malpractice attorneys offer free consultations that will help patients learn their rights.