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Bowel Ruptured During Colonoscopy

Bowel Ruptured During Colonoscopy

Perforation of the colon has long been a recognised risk of colonoscopies.

The current perceived risk is that one in every 1500 colonoscopies will be associated with perforation. The risk is increased if the bowel is diseased, for example, with inflammatory bowel syndrome, diverticular disease or an obstructing cancer.

If any therapeutic manoeuvres are planning such as biopsy or polypectomy then this increases the risk of perforation of the colon of up to one in 200 examination. Thus colonoscopic perforation can happen during colonoscopy and a patient should be counselled in relation to this, before signing the consent form.

Colon stricture and colonoscopy

If there is a colon stricture, it will be difficult to pass the colonoscope through the bowel. Where there is a tight stricture, the medical practitioner should make gentle attempts to try and negotiate it. If it is impossible to pass, the procedure should either be abandoned at that stage, or if available, a gastroscope or paediatric colonoscope should be used to try and negotiate through the narrow stricture.

Trying to forcibly insert or push the colonoscope through a very tight stricture runs an unacceptably high risk of perforation. To use excess force to try to push through the stricture, thus causing a perforation, will equate to a substandard level of care.

Perforated bowel during colonoscopy medical negligence

If a colonoscopy is performed inappropriately, causing a perforation, there may be grounds for a medical negligence claim. For example, if the medical practitioner attempts to force the colonoscope through a tight stricture, rupturing the wall of the bowel, the level of care will be deemed unacceptable. Because this has caused a patient unnecessary harm, there will be an incidence of medical negligence.

There may also be grounds for a claim if the perforated bowel was not diagnosed shortly after the procedure, despite a patient experiencing problems. Symptoms of a perforated bowel after colonoscopy will include surgical emphysema, a swollen neck and a collapsed lung (all caused by escaped bowel gas), stomach/chest pain, confusion and abnormal vital signs. If medical practitioners fail to realise that a patient' condition is deteriorating, leading to a delay in diagnosis, the level of care will be substandard.

Claim compensation today

If you have been affected by a perforated bowel sustained during a colonoscopy, please get in touch with us today to discuss your options. If we think there is a case to be answered, we can help you pursue a claim against those responsible.

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