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Is A Bowel Perforation During Surgery Medical Malpractice?

by The Beasley Firm  |  July 13, 2011  |  

A Family Just Received a $7 Million Verdict After a Loved One Died of a Bowel Perforation After Surgery

Bowel perforations during abdominal procedures such as hysterectomies, appendectomies, laparoscopic surgeries or colonoscopies may or may not be a risk of the procedure. Sometimes, a bowel perforation can happen in the absence of any medical negligence due to dense scar tissue or advanced disease. However, the best person to know if a patient is at risk for a bowel perforation is the surgeon. The surgeon is the one that actually saw first hand if your bowel or intestine was at risk for a perforation. So if the surgeons are privy to your frail abdominal status, why do some surgeons not suspect a bowel perforation when their patient shows post-operative signs that may be suggestive of a bowel perforation?

A jury recently thought the same thing. A woman underwent a hysterectomy and despite severe abdominal pain after her surgery, her surgeon failed to realize that the bowel may have been perforated. It wasn’t until a second opinion, which was too late, that it was discovered that the woman had a bowel perforation, sepsis, and multi-system organ failure that led to her death.

Being a medical professional who has worked in a hospital, I have had the opportunity to care for many patients recovering from abdominal surgeries. Yes, it is a well-known fact that each and every one of us has different levels of pain tolerance. One patient with a perforated bowel may complain of a little discomfort or feel “gassy” where another patient with a ruptured or perforated bowel may be thrashing around in the bed, sweating, and crying out for help. That is why it is so important to look past the outward signs and investigate the inside signs.

The amount of abdominal pain a patient experiences is subjective. In other words, their pain tolerance level means nothing as far as what is going on inside their body. What matters is what the patient’s body and lab values are telling the doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or other healthcare providers after an abdominal surgery or procedure. One has to look at the bowel sounds, abdominal distention, lab values, bowel movements, gas pattern, and food tolerance as well as many other “objective” issues to see if the “subjective”, or complaints of pain, is indicative of a more severe problem or bowel perforation.

So, long story short. A bowel perforation after an abdominal surgery is not always due to medical malpractice, but a delay in diagnosing a bowel perforation could be.

Many lawyers or law firms, after seeing that you signed a consent form for the surgery, fail to investigate further into the reasons why there was a bowel perforation, or even worse, that there was a delay in diagnosing a bowel or colon perforation. Yes, you may have signed a consent form that listed a bowel perforation as a risk of the procedure, but was it really a risk of the procedure or was it negligence? After your procedure, did you complain of abdominal pain and were told, “It is normal,” after abdominal surgery? Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. Our experienced physicians and nurses on staff here at the Beasley wrongful death law firm are all too familiar with all of the different scenarios that present after a patient underwent abdominal surgery and suffered due to a bowel perforation. It is not always a “risk of the procedure.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from a bowel perforation after a surgery, sepsis, septic shock or death, it may have been due to improper care or medical negligence after a surgery. Please feel free to call one of our medical professionals here at the nationally known Beasley medical malpractice law firm for a free review of your potential case and a no risk obligation. Our legal and medical professionals will review your case for free. Even if you do not have a medical negligence claim, you will get answers as to what happened to you or a loved one while in the hospital.

We are here to help you and give you answers. Please feel free to call our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers. Since 1958, we have helped thousands who have been injured and have had billions awarded on their behalf. We were around then when they needed us and we are here now when you need us.

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