Was My Virginia Bowel Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice?

If you’ve ever had a traumatic experience that required abdominal surgery, you probably endured weeks of painful recuperation. But what you may not realize is that your stay in the hospital wasn’t due to your injury—it was because of something your doctor could have prevented.

Bowel injuries can occur in a number of ways, and can be deadly if not treated quickly. In some cases, patients suffer a bowel injury from a direct physical event; while in others, the injury was a result of a delayed diagnosis.
For instance, your bowel injury may have been caused by:

  • Surgical errors. Laparoscopic surgeries, such as hysterectomy or gallbladder removal, are hailed as a “safe” form of surgery, but all abdominal surgeries carry an inherent risk to the patient’s organ systems. The bowel is usually injured in one of two ways: a surgical instrument accidentally cuts the intestinal wall while the surgeon is working on a nearby organ, or too much stress placed on the intestine causes the bowel wall to tear.
  • Severe bodily injury. Patients who have been seriously injured in Virginia car accidents often suffer deep wounds as a result of metal puncturing parts of their body. Due to the sensitive and precarious nature of the organ systems, doctors must inspect the damage carefully with x-rays or CT scans to determine the best way to repair the damage without causing further harm.
  • Blunt force trauma. Even when a collision has not resulted in an open wound, the impact of a crash will often result in blunt force trauma, causing internal injuries. In these cases, the bowel may be damaged while the patient shows no external signs of injury. If a physician fails to perform extensive testing after an accident, such as x-rays, blood testing and diagnostic scans, he may be guilty of medical negligence in Virginia.
  • Bowel obstructions. A bowel obstruction is a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract. When the passage is blocked, the bowel contents back up and restrict the blood supply to the intestine. If left untreated, a bowel obstruction may rupture, a condition known as a perforated bowel. The contents of the bowel will then leak into the abdominal cavity, requiring emergency surgery to remove the blockage and repair the damage.

As experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys, we know that doctors work hard to avoid injury to their patients, and do not intend for these mistakes to happen. However, we also know that victims often suffer life-changing effects as a result of a physician’s error—and we do not believe that patients should endure crippling debt in addition to a serious physical injury.

If you or someone you love has suffered a serious surgical injury in DC, the attorneys at Shevlin Smith can get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (703) 591-0067 to get started on your free consultation, or click the link above for a FREE copy of our book, Do I Have A Case? A Patient's Guide to Virginia Medical Negligence Law.