Surgical Errors

Bowel Perforations

Bowel Perforations from Surgical Mistakes

Peritonitis from a surgically perforated bowel is almost always fatal absent timely surgical intervention.

Look before you cut

Bowel Perforations can be prevented.

Abdominal surgeries and gastroenterological procedures can result in the bowel being damaged.  Proper visualization of the intestines by a surgeon is important to prevent an accidental bowel perforation.  During a surgery and most importantly before the surgical site is closed an inspection should be made for bowel perforations.  Inspections during the surgical procedure can lead to bowel perforations being corrected before serious damages occur.

A serious abdominal injury is also a potential cause of a bowel perforation.  Victims of car accidents often suffer a tremendous amount of force to their abdomen from seat belts.  It is imperative that doctors evaluate such abdominal trauma to rule out a bowel perforation.  If a bowel perforation is identified urgent surgical care is often required.

Bowel Perforations Cause Sepsis

Untreated Sepsis is Usually Fatal

An undetected perforated bowel will quickly lead to an infection.  An infection that spreads to the blood is known as sepsis.  Sepsis can quickly lead to multiple organs failing and death.  The perforation and associated sepsis may lead to peritonitis.

Peritonitis is the inflammation of the peritoneum. The peritoneum is the lining of the abdominal cavity.  Peritonitis can lead to secondary peritonitis which is the inflammation and breakdown of the intestines and other abdominal organs.  Once this process has begun the damage can quickly escalate.

Surgery to correct a bowel perforation is most successful if performed within four to six hours of the injury or evidence of a perforation.

Bowel Perforations Should be Identified

Timely Detection of Bowel Perforations Save lives

The signs and symptoms of a bowel perforation include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or obstipation, a severe form of constipation
  • Fever
  • Patients lying still with knees flexed
  • Decreased bowel sounds
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Distended abdomen
  • Rigid abdomen

A patient with a suspected bowel perforation should be transferred urgently to an emergency department.  Blood tests, abdominal ultrasounds and CT scans can be used to confirm the diagnosis.

A patient with a bowel perforation may require surgical intervention, antibiotic medications, medication to increase blood pressure and the administration of fluids and electrolytes.  A surgical error and/or a failure to timely diagnose a perforated bowel can lead to death, organ failure, organ damage and other serious life altering injuries.  If death occurs within 24 hours of surgery to correct a bowel perforation the most common cause is sepsis.  If you or a loved one sustained a bowel injury during surgery that resulted in serious injuries or death please contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Patterson Law for a free consultation.

George has been such an amazing person to work with. He's cares about my case as if I am the only client he has.


A personal injury client.

Surgical care for a bowel perforation leads to the formation of scar tissue.  If two injured surfaces of the bowel are left facing each other adhesions will form.  These adhesions can create other problems such as intestinal blockages.

George Patterson, Bowel Injury lawyer

what to do

George Patterson is a lifetime member of Elite Lawyers of America.  Membership is limited to lawyers that have obtained a verdict or settlement of at least two million dollars.

Get Started Today

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a bowel perforation please contact bowel perforation lawyer, George Patterson to schedule a free consultation.

Schedule a consultation