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Bowel Perforation During Surgery Can Cause Life-Altering Complications

You’re probably here because you or a loved one suffered a cut bowel -- an injury also known as a bowel perforation -- during surgery and are considering taking legal action against the surgeon who made the mistake that caused the injury. We are here to help. Our Virginia medical malpractice attorneys have represented clients who suffered this awful injury and understand how serious the complications from a nicked bowel can be.

{Click here to learn about the link between perforated bowels and laparoscopic surgery}

A bowel perforation can be life-threatening. When the bowel is torn or cut, its contents spill into the patient's abdomen or abdominal lining (peritoneum). The contents of the bowel are rife with bacteria, so many patients wind up suffering from peritonitis, a severe inflammatory disease triggered by infection.

This video features two of our Virginia medical malpractice attorneys discussing cut bowel injuries from a laparoscopic procedure:

Properly treating a cut bowel requires undergoing repair surgery to stop the continued seepage of bowel contents into the abdomen. Doctors accomplish this by rerouting the portion of the colon that is just above the perforation to the wall of the lower abdomen. This is referred to as a colostomy, which requires a patient to carry a colostomy bag.

Many patients having to wear a colostomy bag suffer emotional trauma and embarrassment, and it is not uncommon to have to wear the bag for 6 to 9 months since the injury must heal before the colon can be reconnected. Even after the colostomy is reversed, many patients do not have their bowel functions and stamina return to normal for several more months.

As mentioned earlier, lawyers with our firm have experience handling cut ureter injury cases. For example, we represented a retired police officer in Newport News, VA who went to her obstetrician/gynecologist due to abdominal pain. The OB/GYN told our client she needed a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. The doctor performed the procedure laparoscopically, which avoided the need to make a large abdominal incision but also limited the ability to see the operative field. 

The OB/GYN negligently severed our client's ureter during the operation and did not realize he had done so. As our client got sicker, it was determined that her ureter was injured. Multiple surgical procedures were required to correct the injury, and our client racked up approximately $100,000 in medical bills. Fortunately, she consulted with our Virginia medical malpractice law firm, and we were able to settle her case for $400,000.

For more information about cut bowel injuries and the health risks associated with perforations, take a moment to review these articles:

Learn the Common Symptoms of a Cut Bowel Injury

In-depth Report on Common Surgical Errors