Bowel Injury Negligence

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If you would like legal advice regarding your bowel injury, contact our legal team. Our medical negligence solicitors have handled claims involving bowel perforation from laparoscopy, laparotomy, hysterectomy, and other types of abdominal surgery.

Mistakes happen. Unfortunately, during routine gynaecological procedures and pelvic surgery, mistakes can cause very serious repercussions. Debatably the most dreaded complication to any procedure is a bowel injury, or rupture. These occur when, for some reason, there is a mistake in the procedure and the bowels get ripped, torn, cut, or bruised. These can lead to very severe septic shock or even death.

There are a few risk factors that put patients more at risk than others for bowel injuries during procedures. Anything that puts the area in a situation in which it is more compressed, or more crowded than normal, will lead to the odds of an injury like this going up. Obesity, prior pelvic surgeries, endometriosis, a history of malignancy, or even just old age, are considered high risk factors. In the highest risk category, those with previous surgeries, this occurs 19% of the time.

Unfortunately, gynaecologists are typically the ones performing the procedure, and they usually do not have sufficient training, and almost never any experience, in repairing the bowel injury if it were to occur. A general surgeon can easily partner with the gynaecologist to do so, but they aren’t always available. Because of this, it is wise to ask about the experience a gynaecologist has with repairing bowel injuries, or other complications, before attending a procedure, particularly if you are in one of the higher risk categories previously identified.

If there is a bowel rupture, the external of the colon or intestines is then exposed to over 400 species of bacteria that is not native to the body in those locations. Infection and further complications are almost inevitable if not attended to and risks reduced. Even with today’s antibiotics, the possibility of severe infection is large if there is a spillage.

One of the best ways to counter a spillage is to decrease the count of bacteria in the bowels before surgery even starts. A regimen of antibiotics and mechanical cleansing by enemas is one of the more effective strategies to undertake prior to undergoing a gynecological procedure. While a typical gynaecologist may deem it unnecessary, it may be good for the patient to remind them of the possibility of a bowel rupture and the severe decrease of infection if these simple precautions are taken. If they are taken, the probability of infection goes down to less than 10%. If the patient belongs in one of the higher risk groups, a pre-operative preparation utilizing polyethylene glycol and sodium phosphate are both recommended.

If there is a rupture of the intestine, immediate and swift action must be taken to mitigate the damage. Because a majority of the errors happen when a surgeon is first entering the patient, the initial entry has to be meticulous and extremely well planned, particularly when entering through an old scar. The surgeon should check frequently while in there to ensure all bowels are intact, and have a plan for periodic checking of the lining while in there. It may even require UV dye to ensure there are no perforations under UV light. If found, the repair is relatively simple, but requires an experienced surgeon to complete.

 

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