Colonoscopies are preventative procedures that involve inserting probe up a person’s rectum to look at their colon. With this procedure, a doctor is looking for cancerous growths or precancerous polyps, which can be removed and tested.
Colonoscopies are generally very safe, according to VeryWell. Indeed, the lifetime risk of any complication from a colonoscopy is only 1.6%, which is lower than the risk of developing colon cancer (4-5%). However, perforation is one of the leading risks of this type of procedure, especially when a doctor does not have the necessary skill or if the doctor is distracted or impaired. In these situations, an injured victim should consider suing for medical malpractice.
What Is Perforation?
A perforation is any hole in the walls of the intestines. It can happen when a doctor roughly moves the probe around the intestine and presses against a vulnerable spot in the colon. Other perforations occur when a doctor removes a polyp or if air is introduced into the colon during the procedure. Too much air can lead to distension, which can cause holes to open in places where the colon has already been weakened.
How Do You know if You Suffered a Perforation?
The most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the abdomen, which can be severe
- Bleeding from the rectum
If you develop any of these symptoms soon after a colonoscopy, you should head to the hospital. The timing is highly suspicious. A doctor can order an imagining test, like an X-ray or CT Scan, to help with making a diagnosis.
How Do You Treat a Perforated Colon?
The treatment will depend on the size of the tear. If it is very minor, then a doctor might only prescribe antibiotics and encourage the patient not to eat or drink for a while. Your doctor then watches the perforation to make sure it heals.
However, more serious tears will require surgery. If waste material has leaked into the abdomen, it should be cleaned out as well, otherwise, a patient could suffer peritonitis, which is a potentially fatal infection.
Speak with a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney
To make a successful claim, injured patients need to reconstruct what happened during the colonoscopy. An attorney can interview people who were present and analyze medical records. Bowel perforations are very rare, and if one follows a colonoscopy then there is a high degree of likelihood that medical malpractice is to blame.