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Why Did I Suffer A Ruptured Bowel?

If you have suffered a ruptured bowel, you will want to know why it happened, what treatment you should have received, and whether or not you have been the victim of negligent medical care.

Causes of a ruptured bowel

When there is a hole, cut or tear in the bowel, the individual concerned is said to have a ruptured (or perforated) bowel. There are a number of ways in which this can happen:-

1. Medical conditions

Some medical conditions weaken the lining of the bowel to such an extent that it becomes thinner and thinner, until eventually a small hole develops. Such conditions may include diverticulitis, Crohns disease and colitis.

2. Traumatic injury

Accidents and traumatic incidents can often result in internal damage. For example, the impact of a severe road traffic collision may tear the bowel, while a stab wound to the abdomen may puncture the bowel.

3. Surgery

Surgery is another common cause of a ruptured bowel. It is a known risk in various operations that involve the abdomen, and it is something that surgeons cannot always avoid. This means the occurrence of a ruptured bowel during surgery is not necessarily negligence. However, it is vital that a patient is warned of this possible complication before consenting to surgery.

Repairing a ruptured bowel

If someone has suffered a ruptured bowel, it is important that it is recognised and repaired without delay. This is because the bowel transports faeces and other waste products from the stomach to the rectum. If there is a hole this faeces will leak out of the bowel and into the abdominal cavity. This is very dangerous, as it will cause the wall of the abdomen (called the peritoneum) to become infected. This will lead to a condition known as peritonitis, something which will cause the patient to become extremely unwell. It can even be fatal.

Therefore doctors must detect a ruptured bowel as soon as possible. If someone presents to their GP or A&E department with the symptoms of a ruptured bowel, medical professional must suspect internal damage particularly if the patient has recently undergone surgery or been involved in a traumatic incident. If the bowel is ruptured during surgery, the medical team should really spot the problem and carry out a repair before the end of the operation. This will ensure a patient's recovery is not complicated by infection, and will also prevent a second operation having to be performed.

Failing to detected a ruptured bowel

However, if medical professionals fail to diagnose a ruptured bowel in a timely fashion, causing the patient additional pain and suffering, the level of care will be deemed unacceptable. Consequently the patient concerned will be in a position to make a medical negligence claim which, if successful, will ensure he or she is properly compensation for the damage they have wrongfully endured.

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