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Settlement following perforations to bowel during a colonoscopy

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Following the successful removal of a large polyp in her bowel three years earlier, our client – an 80 year old lady from the West Midlands, underwent a follow-up colonoscopy procedure three years later to check for polyps higher up in the large bowel. Our client understood that this procedure was usually performed by a colonoscopy specialist (a nurse or doctor) who uses a thin flexible tube (a colonoscope) with a tiny camera on the end to look inside bowel and remove any small growths or polyps.

It was explained that this is a fairly routine surgical procedure taking no more than 30- 45 minutes, but very early into the procedure it was abandoned by the consultant who told her that unfortunately he had perforated her colon in two places.

Several days later she was taken back to theatre for surgical repair and the formation of a colostomy. Our client was informed that this would involve the surgeon bringing a part of the colon from inside her body through her abdomen to the outside and attaching a bag to it to collect the waste products that would normally go through the colon. She was eventually discharged from the hospital with the stoma bag in place and continued on a course of strong antibiotics.

Four months later she needed more surgery to reverse the stoma, following which she made a gradual recovery. Annoyed by the attitude of the consultant, our client approached specialist clinical negligence solicitor, Richard Bannister of Access Legal, to assist her with investigating a medical negligence claim.

We obtained and examined her medical notes and records and commissioned reports form independent medical experts which concluded that insufficient care had been taken during the colonoscopy. That evidence supported our claim that, on the balance of probabilities, none of these subsequent operations would have been necessary had the original consultant not perforated her bowel during the botched colonoscopy.

As a consequence, the pain, discomfort and inconvenience our client subsequently had to endure over several months should have been avoided.

Despite the defendant’s hospital not formally admitting liability, we managed to achieve a substantial and early Out of Court settlement, part of which reflected the amount of extra care our client had needed from her family while she struggled back to health.

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