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Colonoscopy gone bad
Posted on 10/12/2002 4:17:28 PM PDT by Cobra64
Man almost bled to death as a result of a colonoscopy.
TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: bleeding; colonoscopy
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Well, doctors tell you that when you manage to age to 50 years old, it is advisable to have a colonoscopy.
I did and almost bled to death.
On March 22nd this year I had a colonoscopy performed. On March 25th, I ended up in an emergency room after losing a tremendous amount of blood.
The doctor was not interested in seeing the amount of blood in the ER's bathroom. After several hours in the ER with all the IV drips, etc., he said he would prescribe an iron supplement in the IV. It told him that he should have checked with my internest since my liver is high in iron content and men my age want medicine WITHOUT iron. This was a "deer in the headlights" gaze.
Three days later (in the intensive care unit (ICU) and more than 15 blood tests, and three visits from my "asshole" doctor, I left the hospital alive. My fear during those three days was leaving my wife and children without their husband/father. I was scared as hell. I still think about it. I have difficulty sleeping, I wake up at night with the sweats. Now I'm angry. If my wife were not at home to take me to the hospital, I'd probably be dead.
Anyone have thoughts on this? Should the doctor be held accountable. I see the excessive bleeding in the ICU for three days and his mis-prescription of an iron diet as irresponsible. This entire fiasco rang up about $17,000 for the doctors, nurses, ICU and initial procedure that caused this fiasco.My wife is scheduled for one of these, and she related our story. Her doc was flabbergasted.
posted on 10/12/2002 4:17:29 PM PDT
It sure sounds like malpractice ! I've had two of these lovely procedures-no real after effects.
Call your attorney.
posted on 10/12/2002 4:21:34 PM PDT
See a med mal lawyer.
There's a new procedure in some hospitals that is less invasive. They use a cat-scan of the intestine and abdomen and a 3D reconstruction of the image data. The only "invasive" part are (a) the pre-test purge, and (b) right before the test, they inflate your bowel with air. Supposedly they can see pretty small polyps. It is called colonography.
It doesn't require a GI guy to do the test. It is read by a radiologist.
As much as I grit my teeth saying this - get a good lawyer and sue. Calm down and get yourself together and then look for a lawyer that doesn't ask for a fee unless you win and believe me YOU WILL WIN!! I am so sorry for what happened and I hope you get better soon. After all isn't that what Mal-practice insurance is for? Let us know what you decide to do. We are with you all the way.
Like all medical procedures, some Doctors should be performing them. . .and many, should not.
. . .but scary stuff from the get go. . .
posted on 10/12/2002 4:24:26 PM PDT
Well, if you don't sue the daylights out of this quack-hive you'd be my candidate for cannonization as patron saint of suckers when you do finally die.
posted on 10/12/2002 4:24:34 PM PDT
What happened, exactly? Why did you bleed? Was your bowel perforated? The lining torn? An obstruction irritated?
Yes, he should be held accountable if he made mistakes that injured you, and be placed in a position where his post-op care is evaluated and corrected if necessary.
posted on 10/12/2002 4:25:36 PM PDT
Oh by the way if you do sue - DO IT SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!!! That is the most important thing!!!
If this happened in March have you retained the best PI attorney in NY and if not why not!
posted on 10/12/2002 4:27:06 PM PDT
To: Pearls Before Swine
By coincidence, I had a colonoscopy this week. My doctor mentioned this "virtual" colonoscopy. He said it was good, but that currently it is estimated to find 90% of all polyps, etc.
That means the virtual colonoscopy misses 10%, whereas a colonoscopy essentially misses 0%. I for one would not roll the dice on 10% when missing it could mean cancer goes undetected.
A family friend had a colonoscopy done as an outpatient prodecure. He almost bled to death in the doctor's office. The doctor panicked when he saw the bleeding, and it was only the quick action on the nurse's part that saved his life. Physician incompetence kills more people than guns.
Cobra..hope this finds you feeling better..and YES.. I would persue a lawsuit. And I would also have a different doctor keeping track of my progress.
I swear my Dads intestine was damaged by one of these. If you do not have a skillful doctor..these tests can really do you some damage.
Wishing you well..
To: Wonder Warthog
How many guns does physician incompetence kill?
Physician incompetence kills more people than guns.
my great-grandfather, who was the most vigorous 92 y.o. man you'd ever want to see, died after his bowel was perforated in a colonoscopy. the family was too deferential to the doctors and did not report or sue. accidents can happen and are not necessarily malpractice but your doctor seems to have been unresponsive and dismissive, which is a very poor sign. consult an attorney and see if you have a case.
My wife is scheduled for one of these, and she related our story. Her doc was flabbergasted.
There you go. Though these procedures are routine, they aren't without risk. However, the risk is usually slight. Your wife's doctor's reaction demonstrates this. The iron supplement aspect, though, won't be relevant except to the degree that it deviated from accepted procedure in your situation. Unless you were a patient with hemochromatosis, a brief administration of a standard iron supplement wouldn't have endangered you.
Did you have the procedure done at the same hospital? Though you didn't say this, I assume you told the doctor in the ER that you had had the colonoscopy done, where you had it performed, who did it, and then provided him with the phone number given to you following the procedure to report any unexpected developments. Did both you and he call that number? What did the doctor who did the procedure tell the ER doctor when he was contacted?
posted on 10/12/2002 4:42:42 PM PDT
Do your best to have the case tried in Holmes County Mississippi. It's a sure thing!
posted on 10/12/2002 4:43:38 PM PDT
pardon me, but sue because of why?
you had a colonoscopy for a reason....what was it....were you already bleeding?
How did the bleeding stop?...did they have to do surgery?...
It is not malpractice if there is a bad outcome....did you read the consent before you had the procedure?....if you did, or if you had asked....perhaps your doc did not inform you properly, but if he did he would have told you of the many many adverse things that can happen with this procedure as well as any procedure..
you are unhappy with your doc...tell him....but because you had a bad outcome it does not automatically mean you had negligent care....far from it...
and don't belittle what the doc told you about the iron...look up hemachromatosis....it is dangerous to have...
posted on 10/12/2002 4:44:28 PM PDT
it's difficult to prove medmal but you could give it a try...the lawyer will take this on contingency. you can sue the hospital as well as the dr. is there residual damage? loss of income? loss of service? you get my point. many law suits are filed because of the arrogance and lack of compassion of doctors.
Great, I'm having one Tuesday to rule out internal bleeding, hopefully not cause it!
Seems the proc doc was responsible. Doesnt your insurance company have malpractice lawyers?
BTW, that's why it's called "Practicing Medicine".
re-reading about your iron supplement....I too think that whatever he intended to give you was probably not enough to cause damage however.....was it the same doctor who did the procedure and also saw you in the ER?......
I will tell everybody this:....never assume that there is good communication between doctors , between doctors and nurses etc etc....ALWAYS be aware of your health situation and don't hesitate to ask questions....docs do not have access to every bit of info on you and they also forget things......
posted on 10/12/2002 4:52:36 PM PDT
Colonoscopies are fairly routine, unless there is a problem! There may or may not be a good reason why you had excessive bleeding. If the doctor rammed it through a fold in your colon, then that's malpractice. If you have diverticulitis or polyps and the procedure simply triggered the bleeding, then you were a timebomb, anyway.
The important thing is to find out what caused the bleeding. It wasn't necessarily malpractice. But it might have been.
posted on 10/12/2002 4:57:44 PM PDT
by Dog Gone
My Dad, now 80, had a similar 'bleeding' problem about 8 years ago. In his case, too much 'roughage' had torn a polyp. He passed out while walking, and of course had LOTS of blood in his stool.
The ER figured it out immediately, gave him whole blood and kept him a few days under observation, including a colonoscopy.
They told him to eliminate all roughage from his diet, no peanuts, etc. They told him that at his age he needs no roughage, that his large intestine is worn thin from years of use.
Your doctor dropped the ball.
FWIW, my wife suffered from gallbladder discease for nearly a year. The doc kept saying she had acid reflux and kept prescribing Prilosec, (purple pill).
When she had an attack, Vicadan (hydracodone) was about all that would relieve the pain.
She finally demanded and got a ultrasound. The tech whistled and said it was the nastiest gallbladder she had ever seen. Got it yanked. Got a new doctor.
I mostly blamed the doctor and partly the drug company who makes Prilosec. They had huge promotions going on at the time. It was like the story of the man whose only tool was a hammer and everything looks like a nail.
We didn't sue, she was well, we wanted to move on.
(I'm certain I've misspelled most of the drugs and conditions)
posted on 10/12/2002 4:58:54 PM PDT
by TC Rider
Well.... before you all sue the doctor you might want to think about this case. There is a difference between a bad outcome and malpractice. In other words if somebody does 1000 heart catheterizations 1-2 of them will end up with a perforated artery and 1%-5% will die. It sucks to be that .00001-.00005 cause all you know is that 100% of the one you loved is dead. So let's just see what happened here.
#1 The GI doc that did the procedure had you sign a permit with one of the "complications" listed as infection, bleeding, perforation etc...
#2 Post procedure you were told that if you bled you were to show up to the ER or call the office... you did that.
#3 In the ER the doctor found out that you were bleeding and it really isn't important to measure the blood in the toilet cause a little bit of blood will look like a lot mixed with stool or water. Sometimes a lot of blood can be hidden behind a lump of feces, so only a little blood may fool you also. So the important thing to know is if you are CONTINUING to bleed. So they might want to compare you H/H (hemoglobin/hematocrit=blood level of RBC's) at the time of the ER visit with your pre-op H/H. They tend to repeat them every six hours and see how you are doing... if you are dropping then rescope and transfuse as a last resort.
#4 The "deer in the headlights" look was probably.... the doctor thinking... "this guy is bleeding and he's busting my balls for trying to prevent him from IRON SUPPLEMENTS as opposed to a transfusion." The reason men over 50 don't need iron is cause we don't menstruate and lose blood... so it builds up in our system and some seem to think that has a role in cancer and heart disease. If you are bleeding then you need the iron supplement to replenish your losses. Unless you have a metabolic disorder that stores abnormally high iron in your system. The doctor was trying to minimize the chance for transfusion... which can lead to transmision of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, AIDS, West Nile,...etc.. you get the picture, right? So the ER guy saves your life, tries to prevent you from getting a transfusion you might not need.
#5 You see the doctor in the ICU.... and what was the cause of the bleeding... polyps, perforation (doubtful)cause those tend to bleed INTO the abdomen and you die of infection usually, hemerrhoids, or what?
So it sounds like you got a $17,000 bill that you are upset about and are looking to stick it to the docs. I say................ go for it.
Everybody else does.
Make sure you name the GI doctor, Anesthesiologist, your family doctor, the ER doctor, Radiologist, and the Hospital. All of them will settle and you can come out with a profit..... Oh yeah, make sure you mention the sleep deprivation, the worrying and whatever else you can think of.... you can also add lack of consortium if you were unable to perform your husbandly duty during the 3 days and in the intervening time since your "trauma".
Did they find cancer or polyps? That's usually what the screening colonoscopy is for. The x-ray stuff mentioned is ok I guess but I'd rather do the colonoscopy.
By the way the number 1 reason for malpractice suits against doctors is not poor quality of medicine but poor communication skills towards the patient. Usually you just want to know "WHY?" and a suit is your only avenue... Really bad doctors usually bury their mistakes.........
This is what litigation and lawyers are for. We perhaps need more lawsuits rather than fewer.
We have a female friend locally, North East Alabama, who had her intestine burst with this procedure in about July 2002, then her "DR" dismissed her. He later said he "forgot" to tell her what happened. She spent a lot of time in ICU at hopefully a more competent hospital
Sorry to hear about your experience. As one who no longer has any large intestines I still recommend regular checks. The risk is too great. Good luck on what ever you decide to do.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:15:43 PM PDT
He removed a polyp, and was supposed to cauterize it. It seems he missed it. What happened on the following Monday was when I sat for a bowelmovement. I thought the effluent was diarahhea (who can spell that stinkin' word). When I started to get dizzy, I looked down and saw blood. I had been pressing blood from my bowels. I called my wife, she shrieked, and said she'd been having woemn's periods for 35 years and this was the worse bowl of blood she'd ever seen.
I called the doctor'rs office. The recording said that if there were an emergency, call 911.
With that, I called my interest doctor. His answering service connected me with him. He made contact with the asshole doctor and Karen drove me to the hospital.
The rest is history. I still get the sweats from this though. My wife and children without their husband and father.
Enough said. I'm getting the shakes.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:16:28 PM PDT
So you are willing to let the attorney have 35% to 70% of your award.
Find one that works on a paid fee basis. You keep the money. But you will probably not be able to find one that is not out for himself.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:22:10 PM PDT
You may have signed away any possibility of damages when you signed the release prior to the procedure. I cqan't remember what it said word-for-word, but it seems to me like one of the possible complications included bleeding. The doctor also verbally went over this with me.
The bleeding sometimes cannot be predicted. Cautery might well have been performed and your straining on the commode may have caused it to open up.
Go ahead with a lawsuit if you wish, but it sounds like an uphill battle to me.
I'm with you. The worst part of the whole test was the evacuation part. If you have to do that either way, what's the point? Might as well get it done the 'old-fashioned' way and not worry if something was missed.
Now if they could eliminate the elimination part, they'd really be on to something!
I am sorry you met this fate....Unfortunately we have an abundance of "asshole" doctors just like the one you had the mis-fortune of meeting...believe me, I have stories also.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:27:27 PM PDT
let me guess...you are a doctor or someone in the insurance industry?
Anyone have thoughts on this? Should the doctor be held accountable.
Get opinions from a couple of the best med malpractice lawyers you can find.
I almost lost a leg (maybe life) from a true cock-up by an emergency doct...he blew a diagnosis
that a pharmacist in a third-world country would have nailed.
I'm not litigious...but I now encourage anyone with a decent case to push the losers
of the medical field into jobs where they can't maim. And sometimes kill.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:29:52 PM PDT
This is very true. When it comes down to it, you must always look out for yourself! Don't be shy, timid or afraid to ask "dumb" questions.
Sue him at least for med. expenses of $17,000...Or maybe your ins. covered it all.
GET A LAWYER.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:31:23 PM PDT
To: Dick Vomer
ouch! I like your last line...that's a great pun!
Well, so much for tort reform from conservatives, considering the comments on this thread.
So you are willing to let the attorney have 35% to 70% of your award. Find one that works on a paid fee basis. You keep the money. But you will probably not be able to find one that is not out for himself.
I've never heard of a contingency of more than 40%...If you pay a flat fee, what is the incentive for the lawyer to get all he can for you? If he's in on the cut he has a real incentive to get the client as much as possible. Make sense?
My husband had a colonoscopy several years ago. He started hemmoraging 2 or 3 days after & passed out. I called an ambulance & he spent a few hours in the ER & then the night in the hospital. The next morning they went back in & cauterized the spot where the polop had been cut. He was fine & when home the same afternoon.
He had made the mistake of taking an asprin & that started the bleeding. He didn't need a tranfusion & it was not really the emergency we thought it was (Than God). I have had a colonoscopy, they found nothing & I had no problems.
It is a very important test especially if you have had people in your family who have had colon cancer. I have & I used the past tense because they are all dead. I will continue to be tested when ever the Dr. thinks I need it.
I am sorry you had such a horrible experience that left you so traumatized.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:35:50 PM PDT
To: Trust but Verify
When I had my first c-scopy 5 years ago, I had to drink the 2-gallon jug of stuff. Now they've got it down to just a couple of glasses with Fleet Phospho.
Not fun, but not horrendous. Worthwhile to put up with it every few years to be entirely sure of avoiding colon cancer.
By the way, unless I've missed something, I haven't seen one reference on this thread to Katie Couric. People are slipping!
but I now encourage anyone with a decent case to push the losers of the medical field into jobs where they can't maim
This is another good argument for lawsuits.
Tort reform doesn't mean that doctors shouldn't be sued for legitimate malpractice, does it?
I asked my Dr. about the "viritual" colonoscopy too. He pointed out that the worst part of a colonoscopy is the pre test prep. The diet & the stuff you have to drink to clean out your bowel. You have to do it for the "viritual" & then if they decided they have to remove something, you have to prep again. Apparently, they don't just take you right in & remove it then. That & the fact that they miss 10% of polops, decided for me.
posted on 10/12/2002 5:44:46 PM PDT
A good plaintiff's attorney always asks two questions of prospective clients: 1) Are/were you hurt? and 2) Do you need money?
posted on 10/12/2002 5:45:27 PM PDT
Ive got one scheduled in November ..I'll let you know if I bleed to death.....
posted on 10/12/2002 5:49:29 PM PDT
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