Attorneys for Bowel Perforation During Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy: Reasons and Procedures
The vast majority of colonoscopies are performed as a routine screening procedure. Once an individual reaches a certain age, the medical establishment recommends that person undergo a colonoscopy in an attempt to catch colon cancer early. Early detection of colon cancer has been linked to significantly better outcomes with proper treatment.
Routine screenings are not the only reason for colonoscopies, however. When a patient presents certain symptoms, the doctor might refer them for an examination. Potential reasons for such a referral include:
- Discovery of blood in the stool
- Significant, ongoing abdominal pain
- A change in consistency of stool or a change in patterns of bowel movements
- Causes of concern discovered through other diagnostic tests such as CT
Regardless of the reason for the procedure, the diagnostic process is the same in almost all circumstances. Patients are given a cleansing liquid to drink in the hours leading up to the exam. Then, during the colonoscopy, a slim tube called an endoscope is inserted into the rectum and maneuvered into the colon to look for polyps or other signs of disease. The endoscope is a flexible tube, but has enough rigidity to be able to be moved forward and back.
As with any procedure, there is a risk of complications during and after a colonoscopy. Many of these complications are fairly benign, including:
- Bloating and discomfort
- Mild reaction to anesthetics
- Irritation in the area the scope was inserted
Unfortunately, significantly less benign complications exist. Sepsis is a serious risk whenever a colonoscopy is performed, and the risk is increased if any polyps are removed. When polyps are removed, bleeding usually occurs, creating direct contact between your bloodstream and your colon. The risk of bacteria spreading from one to the other can be very high. The first signs of sepsis are often fever and chills. A prompt diagnosis is extremely important, as a delay in treatment of even one hour can be fatal.
On rare occasions, bleeding from a colonoscopy is significant enough to require blood transfusions. This is most likely to occur if a large polyp is removed during the procedure. Whenever a significant amount of blood is lost, there are health risks to the patient.
One of the most common significant complications of a colonoscopy is a bowel perforation. A bowel perforation occurs when the bowel is torn or punctured by the endoscope. These tears can also occur in the rectum.
Bowel Perforation During Colonoscopy
Though there are health problems a patient might experience that could result in a bowel perforation, such as Crohn’s Disease, a bowel perforation after a colonoscopy can be the fault of the doctor. Threading the endoscope through the patient’s rectum and colon is delicate work, and if the surgeon makes a mistake, significant damage can be done.
Determining whether or not a mistake was made is important when dealing with an injury such as this. Your actions may be a contributing factor, dependent upon whether or not you followed proper protocol in preparing for the procedure. Still, it is the duty of the medical professionals not to proceed if the situation is not safe, and victim blaming should never be acceptable.
Doctors are reticent to admit fault in situations such as this, and may attempt to blame your medical history for what happened to you. This can be a difficult situation to overcome as a layman, as knowing what existing conditions might or might not contribute to an increased likelihood of complications can be difficult. If the surgeon or another physician had recognized these warning signs in your health history ahead of time, you should have been made aware of the increased risk.
Another factor when dealing with bowel perforations is how quickly the perforation was discovered. If the doctor quickly identifies that a puncture has taken place, the perforation can frequently be treated with few long-term consequences. But if the perforation is not immediately diagnosed, the risk of significant damage to the color, or of sepsis, are drastically increased. Surgeons are expected to recognize when a perforation has taken place and proceed accordingly.
Legal Help for Bowel Perforation Victims
Making a case against a physician can be very difficult. The medical establishment is lined up to prevent patients from getting the compensation they are entitled to when malpractice occurs. Even knowing the first step towards proving the surgeon was responsible for your injury requires extensive experience and knowledge in the case area.
If you or someone you love has suffered due to a perforated bowel suffered during a colonoscopy, Finz & Finz, P.C., has the experience and knowledge to manage your case. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C., now, toll free, at (855) TOP FIRM, or fill out the Free Bowel Perforation During Colonoscopy Evaluation Form to start the process of holding the surgeon accountable for their actions.