This gastrointestinal case involves a middle-aged male who had undergone outpatient surgery to repair a knee injury. After the surgery, doctors discharged the patient with medication for pain. For several days after the surgery, the patient was unable to move his bowels. The patient also had significant abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and lethargy. He was taken to the ER and admitted to the hospital. Doctors gave him stool softeners; however, he remained in significant pain. He did not receive a CT or any other abdominal imaging studies, nor did the ER doctor call in a surgeon when the patient initially presented to the hospital.
The patient spent several days in agonizing pain. So, the doctors eventually gave him a CT scan and diagnosed him with a perforated bowel. Doctors called for an urgent surgical consultation, and the patient underwent emergency surgery to repair the perforation. As a result of the delay in detecting his bowel injuries, the patient suffered from myriad complications, including trouble breathing and multiple organ failure. Doctors performed a series of additional surgeries in an attempt to stabilize the patient’s condition, including abdominal wash outs and drainage installation. Doctors also removed a significant length of the patient’s intestines. Despite these efforts, the patient developed sepsis and eventually died in the hospital.