As you get older, you face risks for various health issues, including colon cancer. Once you are 50 years and older, your doctor might recommend a colonoscopy based on your age and any other risk factors. A doctor also typically recommends this procedure if you’re complaining of gastrointestinal issues, such as chronic constipation or diarrhea, blood in their stool, and abdominal pain. While a colonoscopy is a safe procedure overall, you might experience a serious side effect. If you had to visit the emergency room after receiving a colonoscopy, contact a Chicago colonoscopy malpractice lawyer. Your injury might be the result of an error during the procedure.
To learn about pursuing a medical malpractice claim after a colonoscopy mistake, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900, or through the online form. We offer free consultations.
During a colonoscopy, a physician inserts a long, flexible tube containing a camera and a light into your rectum. You’ll be sedated either through pill or IV medication to reduce your discomfort. The doctor uses the camera to get a look inside your colon, which is your large intestine. The purpose is to identify any polyps or abnormal tissue, which can be removed during the colonoscopy by inserting an instrument through the tube. The doctor will biopsy the tissue to diagnose or rule out cancer.
Most colonoscopies are performed by a gastroenterologist, which is a physician that specializes in gastrointestinal diseases. They are specially trained to perform this procedure and identify polyps or abnormal tissue in the large intestine. Other types of physicians can safely perform a colonoscopy, though they might lack specific training on what to look for during the procedure.
Complications are rare during colonoscopies, but they can happen when the doctor isn’t careful. Risks include:
You could experience a small tear in your rectum or large intestine. This can be caused by an instrument during the colonoscopy, such as when a physician is removing a polyp. Perforations can be treated with rest and antibiotics, though large tears require surgery. An unidentified and untreated perforation can cause your bowels to leak into your abdomen. You might experience peritonitis, a fungal or bacterial infection of the membrane that lines your abdominal wall and covers your organs.
A small amount of bleeding after a colonoscopy is normal. But if you experience heavy bleeding or bleeding that won’t stop, it could be a sign of a serious injury.
If the hospital and surgical staff didn’t follow proper procedures, you might be exposed to harmful bacteria. You could develop a serious infection.
Sepsis is the body’s reaction to a serious infection. Normally, your body fights an infection. But when the chemicals in your body become imbalanced, it can trigger organ damage and failure. Sepsis, when it isn’t diagnosed and treated right away, can be deadly.
In rare cases, you can suffer an injury to the spleen or even a splenic rupture. It can be difficult to diagnose and lead to serious injury.
A rare side effect of a colonoscopy is a burn injury in the bowel. This comes from your physician using an electrical current to cut off a polyp and seal the area. You might experience abdominal pain, rapid heartbeat, and a fever. This is treatable with antibiotics and rest.
A negative response to the anesthesia could cause an issue with the heart or lungs. In extreme cases, you could experience oxygen deprivation, aspiration pneumonia, or cardiac arrhythmias.
A very rare complication is an explosion due to the presence of gas in an unprepared colon. If there is hydrogen or methane, oxygen, and a heat source, it is possible for there to be an explosion.
It’s rare but possible that a colonoscopy-related complication leads to death.
You should contact a Chicago colonoscopy malpractice attorney if you suffered a serious injury from the procedure. To win medical malpractice compensation, you have to prove the medical provider violated their professional standard of care. They either did something a reasonably careful doctor wouldn’t have done, or they failed to do something a reasonably careful doctor would have.
You also have to prove you suffered an injury. Discomfort isn’t enough. Even needing a round of antibiotics is unlikely to result in a strong malpractice claim. There needs to be evidence you suffered a serious injury linked to the colonoscopy. We recommend you give us a call if you had to go to the emergency room or were hospitalized because of the complication.
Another form of colonoscopy malpractice is your doctor failing to diagnose a condition despite performing the procedure. Your doctor might miss abnormal tissue that should be biopsied for cancer. Your doctor might not diagnose irritable bowel syndrome or another condition. The lack of a diagnosis can lead to a serious condition to go on untreated.
You might have a medical malpractice claim if your doctor failed to get permission to perform the colonoscopy or failed to inform you of all of the risks. Failing to get informed consent for a procedure outside of an emergency is a breach of the medical standard of care. If you also suffered a serious injury due to the colonoscopy, you might have a strong medical negligence claim.
When you suffered a colonoscopy complication, which you believe was preventable, talk with a Chicago colonoscopy malpractice attorney as soon as possible. We’ll talk with you about the circumstances surrounding the colonoscopy and the complication. We’ll review your medical records. If we see signs that the doctor violated their professional standard of care, we’ll talk with you about pursuing a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and hospital.
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