Colonoscopies are a particularly useful and common way that doctors and other healthcare providers perform colon cancer screening. As we age, it is important that we have screens to detect this and other forms of cancer. Early detection of problems improves the odds of a favorable medical outcome.
But what happens when doctors performing a colonoscopy cause a colon perforation? In non-medical talk, what happens when a healthcare provider causes you to have a hole in your bowel? These are sometimes also called intestinal perforation, a ruptured bowel, or perforation of the intestines. Do you have a medical malpractice case when these things happen?
As with most legal questions, the answer to this question is “it depends.” It is understood that colonoscopies may result in perforations or holes in the colon walls. In fact, your consent form to do the surgery will likely list perforation as one of the risks of the procedure. Such procedures could include an endoscopy or a colonoscopy. This can also happen if the doctor is removing a polyp from your colon. Again, that is a risk listed on your consent form.
You may have a medical malpractice case when you experience a perforated colon depending on the facts.
One type of case that may arise is if your colon is perforated but doctors fail to see, know, or understand that they perforated your colon. Put a little differently, your doctors may perforate your colon but then fail to diagnose this condition. When there is a failure to diagnose, there is oftentimes a failure to treat. And this failure to treat this condition could cause a number of serious problems with your health.
When a failure to diagnose a perforation occurs and treatment is accordingly delayed, a case may be particularly strong where a patient is discharged even though the patient is showing obvious signs of a serious problem. Some common signs of bowel perforation can include bloody stool or bowel movements, fever, or severe stomach or abdominal pain. If you experience these, seek immediate medical attention.
Cases such as these might cause serious and permanent injuries such as sepsis and other consequences. For severe cases, an individual who has a perforated colon or bowel may need to have a colostomy or ileostomy. These procedures will pass the contents of your intestines into a bag through holes that are created. Some cases can even lead to death when the condition is not recognized in time.
Or, it may be the case where the perforation itself is caused by negligence. Doctors must conduct an evaluation of the level of what is called bowel preparation quality. This is something that looks at how clean the bowel is before the procedure occurs. The doctor must assess whether the three regions of the colon are in proper condition for a procedure. In fact, doctors should use the Boston Bowel Preparation Scale to assess the colon. If the score is too low, the doctors should not continue with the procedure. If they decide to go forward anyway and cause a perforation, they could be responsible for the injuries that occur.
If you experienced a bowel perforation and wonder if you have a medical malpractice case, call Virginia medical malpractice lawyer Robert Byrne at 434-817-3100.