Surgery can be frightening for anyone. When the trust we place in our physicians is breached by their mistakes or negligence, the experience can quickly become traumatic. This is particularly true when we go in for what we think of as a simple surgery, such as colonoscopy.
Recently, one woman's life was turned upside down when she suffered a bowel perforation during a routine procedure. She took charge of her own well being, and filed a bowel perforation claim against the physician who hurt her.
One Woman's Terrifying Ordeal
A young teacher had a miscarriage 14 weeks into her pregnancy. Her physician suggested that she undergo a dilation and curettage procedure for diagnostic purposes. The night before the surgery, the physician ordered the dilation of the woman's cervix. It was discovered the next morning the dilation attempt had not been successful.
A surgical resident attempted to expand her cervix manually, so the surgery could go on as scheduled. During his attempt to do this, he perforated the woman's uterus. The woman's physician then resumed control of the surgery to correct the error. However, the forceps he used pierced through the perforated uterus and grabbed the top half of the rectum, tearing it off and perforating the woman's bowel.
As a result of the surgical error, a rectal surgeon rushed to repair the damage. However, the tragic events left the woman with an ileostomy, which required her to wear an ileostomy bag and unable to return to her teaching job.
The woman filed a lawsuit against her physician asserting that his failure to use ultrasound technology during the procedure constituted medical malpractice. The jury agreed with woman and awarded her $2.5 million.
Perforated Bowel Causes and Dangers
Cases like this serve as a sobering reminder of a risk that is common for patients undergoing abdominal surgery. Unfortunately, not all patients in the same situation make a full recovery.
A performed bowel-or gastrointestinal perforation as it is sometimes called-is simply a hole in the wall of the stomach, gallbladder or intestines. It can be caused by abdominal surgery, appendicitis, ulcers, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, gallstones and gallbladder infections.
The danger of the bowel perforation is that it allows food or bodily waste to leak into the abdomen, causing peritonitis-a severe inflammation of the abdomen. Rapid diagnosis of the bowel perforation is critical because a person's condition will deteriorate as infection spreads.
Symptoms of the infection include nausea, fever, severe abdominal pain, blood in the stool and vomiting. If untreated, a patient can develop sepsis, a serious infection that can be fatal. Other complications include internal abscesses and internal bleeding.
The treatment for perforated bowel is usually surgery to close the perforation. Sometimes a colostomy or ileostomy is necessary. Depending on how large the perforation is and the speed of diagnosis, surgery is often successful. However, if the perforation is severe or not caught early enough, the patient can die from a severe blood infection called sepsis.
An Attorney Can Help
Although sometimes bowel perforations are caused by bodily disorders, in many cases, they are caused by the negligence of surgeons. If you or a loved one suffered from a perforated bowel and suspect it was caused by a recent surgical procedure, contact an experienced Rochester bowel perforation lawyer. An attorney can investigate your claim and work to recover the compensation that you deserve.