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Ruptured Bowels
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What Is A Ruptured Bowel?

A ruptured bowel is a hole in the stomach, small intestine or large intestine. Such a rupture is considered a medical emergency, as it is highly likely that if not treated immediately the contents of the bowel will empty into the abdominal cavity. This can lead to serious complications, from sepsis (infection of the blood) to death in the most severe cases.

What Causes A Ruptured Bowel?

A ruptured bowel can result from a number of illnesses or diseases, including Crohn's disease, colitis, gastrointestinal cancer, appendicitis, diverticulitis, gallbladder diseases and infections, gallstones, and stomach ulcers. Additionally, a ruptured bowel can be caused by crushing injuries which may occur during events such as a car accident.

However, a ruptured bowel is most commonly the result of a penetration injury. This may include puncturing during surgery or from an enema during a colonoscopy procedure.

Symptoms Of A Ruptured Bowel.

Symptoms of a ruptured bowel include:-

  • Extreme abdominal pain;
  • Distention (swelling of the stomach);
  • Fever;
  • Nausea;
  • Bowel changes (such as constipation, diahorrea, or blood in the stool).

Diagnosis and Treatment Of A Ruptured Bowel.

A ruptured bowel is usually diagnosed by an X-Ray or a CT scan which shows the air that has escaped into the peritoneal cavity. Once diagnosis has been confirmed, the rupture must be treated immediately. This is due to the danger of toxins and waste substances from the body leaking into the abdomen, potentially causing sepsis and infection.

In most cases a ruptured bowel is treated with surgery. More often than not this will effectively repair the rupture, although factors such as length and depth of the perforation will contribute towards the success of surgery. In very rare cases, small ruptures have been treated using antibiotics.

Ruptured Bowel And Medical Negligence

Whatever the cause of a ruptured bowel, it is essential it is treated as quickly as possible. The danger is that a healthcare professional will either fail to diagnose a ruptured bowel after a crushing injury (misdiagnosis), or will not notice the perforation has occurred during surgery and sew the patient up without fixing the problem. Therefore medical negligence following a ruptured bowel occurs on two main occasions:

  • Rupture caused during surgery; and
  • Misdiagnosis after surgery.

If you have experienced a ruptured bowel following a crushing injury or recent surgery you should immediately consult an Accident and Emergency unit or call your Doctor.

If you have been through this experience and would like some advice, please see below and we will provide you with a free initial case assessment.

Can We Help You With A Ruptured Bowel Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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