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Diverticular Abscess Diagnosis

Diverticular Abscess Diagnosis

If medical practitioners failed to diagnose you with diverticular disease, and this caused you to develop serious complications such as an abscess, you could be the victim of medical negligence. This means you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

Diverticular disease

Diverticular disease is when small bulges develop on the lining of the intestine and become inflamed. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bleeding from the rectum and a change in bowel habits. If not treated in time, it can lead to serious complication such as an abscess, fistula, or a severe infection called peritonitis.

Diagnosing diverticular disease

A reasonable practitioner should be concerned about a patient with rectal bleeding and a change in bowel habit. Steps should therefore be taken to reach an accurate diagnosis. These should be undertaken in a timely fashion, as rectal bleeding is a symptom of serious conditions that require immediate treatment.

Firstly a doctor should make enquiries about the patient's health, appetite, weight loss and change in bowel habits. The quantity of blood loss should be estimated. A range of possible diagnoses should be considered, including haemorrhoids (characterised by anal pain) and infective causes (characterised by fever, aches and pains).

Secondly, an examination should take place, including a rectal examination. If there is a normal rectal examination but there is blood mixed in with the stool, it suggests bleeding from high up in the bowel. This is a cause for concern, as should be the duration of symptoms, as it indicates an ongoing condition.

When presented with these symptoms, all responsible practitioners would be able to rule out more minor conditions such as haemorrhoids. It would then be reasonable to commence investigation with blood tests and a stool culture prior to urgent referral to exclude cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. Usually this will involve a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy.

The results of these tests, and the nature of a patient's symptoms, should enable doctors to reach a timely diagnosis of diverticular disease.

Delayed diagnosis of diverticular disease

If diverticular disease is diagnosed in a timely fashion, it can be successfully treated with a course of antibiotics. But if there is a delay, the disease can lead to a large diverticular abscess. This can in turn be complicated by serious bacterial infections such as necrotising fasciitis.

Such complications will make a patient critically unwell and some time may be needed in the intensive care unit. A patient may also suffer a fistula of the bowel, resulting in a stoma bag, significant disability and decreased quality of life.

Claiming compensation for diverticular abscess

If a diagnosis of diverticular disease could have been made earlier, and this would have prevented the development of complications such as an abscess, there may be grounds for a compensation claim. If this is something to have affected you or your loved one, please get in touch with us today to speak to a solicitor.

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