A perforated colon, if left untreated, can be a potentially life–threatening condition. While the perforated colon itself is not life–threatening, bile and other toxins that leak into the body as a result of the perforation can be life–threatening. When the colon is perforated, the toxins leaking from the colon enter the abdominal cavity as well as the bloodstream. These toxins can cause serious illnesses such as sepsis and peritonitis. Major organs of the body can be affected, and the individual could experience organ failure. A perforated colon can arise from a medical procedure known as a colonoscopy which allows a physician to view the lining of the rectum and colon (large intestine). While these tests can have physicians find abnormal growths, ulcers, or inflamed areas, if the physician makes a mistake during the procedure it is possible that the instrument used in the procedure may perforate the colon. If the perforated colon is not identified and treated immediately the individual may experience serious, negative long–term health affects.
Individuals that have recently undergone a colonoscopy and begin experiencing the following symptoms may be suffering from a perforated colon: fatigue, jaundice, abdominal cramps or pain, constipation or diarrhea, blood in the stool, reduced appetite, and still feeling full after a bowel movement. These could be signs that the colon has been perforated and toxins are leaking into the body. This leakage can be the cause of serious infections, some of which require multiple surgeries to repair. A perforated colon should not be ignored and the health care provider responsible for the colonoscopy should be notified as soon as possible. While a perforated colon is not an usual occurrence during a colonoscopy, physicians should be ready to treat the condition before the individual’s health worsens. If an individual’s heath care provider fails to take the appropriate steps to repair the perforated colon in a timely manner and the individual develops an infection as a result of the perforated colon, the health care provider could be held accountable for medical malpractice.
Illnesses that develop due to a perforated colon may require multiple surgeries and typically leave the individual unable work for period of time. While expensive medical bills need to be paid the individual is unable to earn the monies needed to fulfill his or her financial obligations. In cases such as these, the physician has an obligation to his or her patient and they fail to meet this obligation. As a result, the patient is injured and the physician’s failure to fulfill his or her responsibility to the patient is the proximate cause of the patient’s injury. Therefore, individuals should consider filing a medical malpractice claim against their health care provider to help provide monies for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.