Anytime you undergo a surgical procedure involving your abdomen, there is a risk that your bowel could end up perforated or nicked by the surgeon. Knowing this, your surgeon should conduct an examination of your intestines prior to closing and repair any damage found.
Two issues arise from this scenario. First, the surgeon may miss a nick or perforation. Second, doctors and other medical personnel responsible for your post-operative care may not properly monitor you, and you could end up with a life threatening infection or internal bleeding. Close monitoring after the surgery is essential since stitches or staples could also fail and cause you harm.
What should doctors look for?
After an abdominal surgery, doctors should look for the following signs and symptoms of a bowel perforation:
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms don't always appear right away. In fact, they often start gradually and increase over time. While you get sicker, you may also end up with an infection that could turn into sepsis or some other virulent infection such as MERSA.
What does it take to diagnose and treat a bowel perforation?
If not caught while you remain hospitalized, you will more than likely end up in the emergency room with the above symptoms. You should inform the emergency room doctor that you recently had abdominal surgery. This may provide a clue to the fact that you suffer from a bowel perforation. Imaging tests will confirm the perforation. Blood tests will determine infection and blood loss.
In most cases, surgery is required in order to repair the damage. It may be necessary to create a hole in your abdomen that is used to connect a bag to your intestines. Your intestines empty into the bag instead of through your bowels in order to give them time to heal. Unless this needs to be a permanent solution, you will then need a second surgery to reattach your intestines and close the hole.
In the meantime, any infection needs to be aggressively treated with fluids and antibiotics. You will probably remain in the hospital for some time depending on the extent of the damage and the infection.
What am I supposed to do about my expenses?
Going through this type of ordeal is not only hard on your body, but also on your life and your bank account. Your life may change significantly, at least temporarily. Even if you heal properly and the infection clears, you could suffer residual issues. In addition, you probably missed work for a while, incurred medical expenses and sustained other damages at the same time.
Under Texas law, you may pursue compensation for these losses if your care fell below the accepted standard of care. In order to know for sure, you may benefit from seeking a complete evaluation of your case by making use of the legal resources available to you.