Latest News 2011 April Painful Complications from Colonoscopy Prompts Lawsuit

Painful Complications from Colonoscopy Prompts Lawsuit

A young Winchester woman has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy he performed in 2009, that has left her in severe pain, as reported by NV

S.B., plagued with ongoing medical problems, is suing Dr. R. J.S. as well as the Winchester Gastroenterology Associates PLC.  She filed the complaint in Frederick County Circuit Court on April 1, 2011.

S.B. is requesting an award of $5 million in damages and a trial by jury.

Per the complaint, S.B., 29, had the colonoscopy to evaluate the cause of a persistent problem she had with diarrhea.

The complaint reads, “Dr. (R.J.S.) knew before the colonoscopy that Ms. (S.B.) had great difficulty tolerating the ‘prep’ to clean out her colon and that she had severe left lower quadrant abdominal pain, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting.  He prescribed Demoral for her pain and decided to proceed with the colonoscopy without first evaluating what was the cause of her severe pain.”

Then, according to the suit, during the procedure Dr. R.J.S. came upon a blockage in the distal sigmoid colon.  His scope could not pass it so he used a pediatric scope. The suit states, “He then aborted the procedure because he thought he might have perforated her colon.   After the procedure, her abdomen was rigid and distended, and she had repeated episodes of vomiting brown fecal-like material.”

After the procedure S.B. was admitted into the intensive care unit of Winchester Medical Center as an inpatient.

Two days later, Dr. R.J.S. put S.B. under conscious sedation and performed a second colonoscopy.  He used a stent to open and decompress S.B.’s colon – which caused her abdomen to appear firmer and distended afterwards.

According to the suit, and not diagnosed when it occurred, Dr. R.J.S. is accused of perforating the colon at the hepatic flexure.  The suit contends, “Shortly after the second procedure, the patient had more episodes of vomiting brown material, and she likely aspirated fecal contents into her lungs.”

When S.B. began to “decompensate” after the second procedure, her legs, according to the lawsuit, soon became cold and mottled looking.  Nurses placed her back in the intensive care unit.   Their notes state that S.B.’s heartbeat was racing. By mid-afternoon nursing staff could not obtain a blood pressure.

A different physician, Dr. J.D., then performed an emergency operation to both repair the perforation and to remove the obstructed portion of her colon. 

The suit claims that Dr. R.J.S. breached his duty of care by performing “an ill-advised initial colonoscopy without investigating her pain.”

The suit also claims that the second colonoscopy performed by Dr. R.J.S. was not beneficial to the patient.  The suit suggests that a CT scan would have shown the “stricture” that required surgery.

The suit also claims that both procedures were performed without patient consent and that the risks, and alternatives, were not described. 

The suit outlines several results the patient has suffered since her colon was perforated as: acute respiratory distress syndrome – from vomiting and aspirating, intra-abdominal compartment syndrome from the amount of air Dr. R.J.S. put into her bowel, thrombocytopenia – a bleeding disorder, and multi-organ failure – that led to having part of her skull removed to relieve pressure from bleeding into her brain.

The patient was also plagued with sepsis syndrome, kidney failure and liver failure.

Have you suffered while under the care of a physician?  Did you have a routine surgery with complications or undesirable results?  Contact a medical malpractice attorney to proceed with a lawsuit.   

Categories: Medical Malpractice