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hiatus hernia too close to heart

My dad is anemic. My dad was diagnosed with a high hernia last year when he collapsed because he had lost so much blood. so much that he had to have a blood transfusion in october 2008. The doctors couldnt tell us where he was losing blood from or why. Then last week we went back to the emergency room because he was throwing up black stuff uncontrollably. They told us it was because he needs to have his gullbladder removed. the specialist told us yesterday that HE DID NOT WANT TO OPERATE (to remove the hernia) BECAUSE MY DADS HERNIA IS TOO CLOSE TO HIS HEART. HE ADVISED MY DAD TO GO TO A UNIVERSITY BECAUSE THEIR ARE MORE DOCTORS ON HAND IF SOMETHING WERE TO GO WRONG. this means we have to wait another 3 weeks for the insurance to get another doctor. MY QUESTION IS :SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED FOR HIS LIFE CONSIDERING "THE SPECIALIST" doesnt WANT TO BE LIABLE ?
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replied July 25th, 2009
It is difficult for me to offer you any specific advice based upon the information that you have provided. However, I assume that your dad has a hiatal hernia, which occurs when part of the stomach slips up into the chest. Generally, this is associated with heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), although upper GI bleeding is rather uncommon with simple hiatal hernias.

A particular type of stomach herniation into the chest, known as a paraesophageal hernia, is a more severe problem than the typical hiatal hernia. In patients with large paraesophageal hernias, the stomach's blood supply can become compromised, resulting in partial or complete death of part or all of the stomach (this can sometimes be associated with bleeding from the stomach or esophagus).

As I noted, it is not possible for me to provide you with any specific guidance, other than suggesting that you find a good GI doctor and general surgeon to consult with.

Sincerely/ Robert A. Wascher, MD, FACS

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