Patient Suffers Multiple Injuries from Botched Colonoscopy

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on May 12, 2016

Gastroenterology Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Arkansas and involves a female patient who underwent a routine colonoscopy performed by the defending surgeon. No negative findings were evident in the procedure, though in the recovery area immediately following the procedure, the patient noted severe pain in her abdomen. The patient reported this to the surgeon, however the surgeon did not examine her further. No treatment or evaluation was made prior to the patient’s discharge. Several hours after her colonoscopy, the patient began experiencing increasing abdominal pain. She was advised to take an over-the-counter painkiller and proceed to an emergency room if the pain persisted. The patient later presented to the ER, where diagnostic studies revealed that she was experiencing severe internal bleeding. They found that her appendix had been ruptured. Following the surgery, the patient required an extended hospital stay. The plaintiff alleges that the appendix was ruptured during the course of her colonoscopy and there was a lack of follow-up treatment that may have mitigated her injuries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you routinely treat patients similar to the one described in the case? Please explain.
  • 2. Have you ever had a patient develop the outcome described in the case?
  • 3. What are some of the signs and symptoms of a ruptured appendix?
  • 4. Do you believe this patient may have had a better outcome if the care rendered had been different?
  • 5. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case similar to the one described above? If so, please explain.
  • 6. Please tell us why you’re qualified to serve as an expert reviewer of this case.

Expert Witness Response E-008342

It is very probable that the rupture was related to the colonoscopy. The suffering relates to the complication and to the surgery. Additional damages relate to the susceptibility to infections, surgical wound, etc. I am very familiar with the aspects of this injury. I have not served as an expert in a case of regarding this particular injury but have on cases related to colonoscopy. The patient had signs of a serious complication, which could have been diagnosed earlier. Typical signs are pain in the left side of the abdomen and later generalized abdominal pain, shoulder pain, low blood pressure, fainting, nausea, and vomiting.

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