| Read Time: 4 minutes | Medical Malpractice
signs of bowel injury after surgery

Injuries suffered to the large and small bowel are painful and usually result in extended hospital stays, permanent disability, and sometimes death.

Learning that you or a loved one’s bowel injury was due to a doctor’s negligence can be devastating. You may be dealing with substantial pain and suffering, coupled with a long road to recovery.

Even minor surgeries can result in a bowel injury if a doctor fails to uphold the standard of care required in their profession. As you struggle with whether to trust another doctor to treat the mistakes made during your surgery, your complications may be worsening.

A medical malpractice attorney can help you identify the signs of bowel injury after surgery, and they can help you get the compensation you need to pay medical and other malpractice-related bills. 

To get started, contact us today.

What Is a Bowel Injury?

A bowel injury is any puncture of the bowel wall. These injuries may occur due to certain medical conditions or mistakes made during specific medical procedures.

In surgery, a doctor may negligently perforate, cut, or burn a hole in an area affecting the colon or bowels. This trauma to the bowels can lead to leakage into the abdominal cavity, causing infections and inflammation. 

What Are Symptoms of a Bowel Injury? 

There are various symptoms of a bowel injury that should be checked out immediately by a medical professional. Common symptoms most typically seen indicating a potential bowel injury include:

  • Severe abdominal pain, 
  • Severe abdominal cramping, 
  • Bloating, 
  • Nausea, 
  • Vomiting, 
  • Change in bowel movements, and
  • Fever and chills. 

Untreated bowel injuries are dangerous and can lead to sepsis, requiring hospitalization. If no corrective surgery is undertaken or antibiotics are not prescribed, a person can die from this condition. 

Types of Medical Conditions That Can Lead to Bowel Injuries 

The risk of suffering bowel injuries increases if you are diagnosed with certain medical conditions, such as those listed below.

  • Diverticulitis. Diverticula are pouches that form in the lining of your digestive system. When these pouches become inflamed, it can cause bowel injuries. 
  • Ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition due to inflammation in the colon. Those suffering from this condition experience flare-ups with more extended symptom-free periods. 
  • Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease causing inflammation of the tissues in your digestive tract. Most of those suffering from this disease experience abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. 
  • Appendicitis. When the appendix becomes inflamed, appendicitis causes pain in the lower right abdomen as well as vomiting and diarrhea. It’s vital to seek medical attention immediately to avoid complications from your appendix bursting. 

All of these conditions require a medical evaluation and diagnosis. You can avoid the potential for complications of a bowel injury by meeting with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above before they become more severe. 

Surgeries That Can Result in Bowel Injuries

Many routine surgeries can lead to bowel injuries under the care of a negligent doctor, including those listed below.

  • Hysterectomy. A hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus and is a common surgery for treating conditions affecting a woman’s reproductive organs.
  • Appendectomy. When an appendix must be removed, the doctor performs an appendectomy. This surgery is typically carried out in an emergency to avoid the imminent bursting of a person’s appendix. 
  • Laparoscopy. A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure used to examine the belly’s organs. It may also be used to explore a woman’s pelvic organs. 

If you suffered bowel injury symptoms after a medical procedure, your attorney may advise you to pursue a medical malpractice claim against your doctor.

What Damages Can I Recover? 

Recovering bowel injury compensation due to medical malpractice requires proving that the doctor failed to uphold the required standard of care when performing the surgery. Recoverable damages include economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages include tangible losses stemming from your bowel injury and commonly include: 

  • Medical expenses, 
  • Lost wages, 
  • Loss of future earnings, and 
  • Property damage.

Receipts, invoices, pay stubs, medical bills, and other similar documentation help your attorney calculate the value of this portion of your bowel injury compensation demand. 

Non-economic damages represent subjective losses and represent the following: 

  • Pain and suffering, 
  • Emotional distress, 
  • Loss of consortium,
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, 
  • Permanent injury or disability, and 
  • Disfigurement.

Due to their intangible nature, it’s vital to seek the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney to assess the value of these losses and hold the proper party responsible. 

Is There a Cap on Recoverable Damages? 

New Mexico law places a cap on compensatory damages for medical malpractice claims. This cap varies depending on the year that the malpractice occurred and what type of facility is responsible for the losses.

For instance, the maximum allowable damages is different for outpatient facilities that are not owned by a hospital and those facilities that are hospital-owned and controlled. However, past and future medical expenses are not capped. Speak to a medical malpractice attorney to assess your recoverable damages. 

Contact a New Mexico Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today

With more than 70 years of experience, the attorneys at Poulos & Coates have a long history of representing victims of medical negligence and their families.

Our strong team of attorneys share valuable experience in medical practice cases and are in the courtroom almost daily. We understand the complexity of the legal process and can help you get the results you need and deserve. 

We are the only New Mexico law firm specializing in medical malpractice litigation. In addition to having a doctor and two nurses on staff, we have obtained more than $300 million in judgments and settlements on behalf of our clients. We are deeply committed to caring for our clients and their families and delivering the best representation possible.

We have experience handling a wide range of medical malpractice cases and are standing by, ready to help with yours. Contact us today by phone or email for a free consultation and learn how Poulos & Coates can help with your case. 

Author Photo

Victor Poulos

Vic Poulos & Greig Coates became law partners in April of 2002, when the two medical malpractice litigators merged their offices, combining what is now over seventy years of litigation experience, to form Poulos & Coates, LLP. Licensed to practice before all State Courts of Texas, New Mexico, Iowa, and Kansas. Licensed to practice before the United States District Courts of Kansas, Iowa, New Mexico, and Texas (Western, Eastern, Southern, and Northern Districts of Texas), as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.X. Ax Court.

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