By Anonymous - 11/09/2016 05:52 - United States - Philadelphia

Today, my colon got perforated during a routine colonoscopy. Apparently, it's a rare complication and I have no legal recourse. So now I'll need to use a colostomy bag for the next 6 months until I can get surgery to fix their mistake. FML
I agree, your life sucks 16 147
You deserved it 1 067

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melana09 19

They better pay for the procedure since it's their mistake. Sorry to hear that op, but least it's only 6 months and not the rest of your life.

You need to tear that doctor a new asshole! Just like he did to you.


Coughed a little too hard, eh OP? Good luck though that's really rough...

What does coughing have to do with anything?

I think they are confusing a colonoscopy with a prostate exam...

Here come the "that's a shitty situation" and "what a pain in the ass" comments. Oh wait I pretty much just did that. Let's see something original people.

nonsensical 26

Your comment wasn't original, why does ours have to be? YOU CAN'T TELL US WHAT TO DO

Okay, because that's not unsanitary?

It's not as unsanitary as you think. But if you can come up with a better device than a colostomy bag, by all means do so.

Yeah I'm sure everyone who has a colostomy bag would love to know your more sanitary solution lol.

melana09 19

They better pay for the procedure since it's their mistake. Sorry to hear that op, but least it's only 6 months and not the rest of your life.

That's what I thought! Those bags suck but at least it's only temporary. Having one permanently has to be a real pain.

melana09 19

That is true. In my opinion I believe it's still their fault due to the fact Op went in for a colonoscopy and they ended up perforating the patient. Might have been an accident, but caused the patient to have to use a colostomy bag for six months. To me that seems like it should be paid for.

Colostomy bag AND a surgery to fix it. Accidents happen but I don't think op should be charged for something that happened because of an accident in the procedure

nurse here. i wouldnt say perforating the colon is a 'rare' complication. its uncommon, but definitely not rare. the repair surgery is also not something the OP should have to wait for. as soon as the surgeons were aware, they should have scheduled an emergency repair asap. before surgery you generally sign a form saying you've been notified of any complications, which means you cant take legal action for an accident. which is was, because unless the surgeon is stupid, they wouldnt perforate a colon on purpose.

Right but is it? There are only two circumstances based on what the OP says where it's actually their mistake. 1) It's a rare complication like they said that could happen and they failed to disclose that either verbally or in written form Or 2) The OP misspoke and it's not a rare complication but them actually screwing up the procedure. If they gave her literature though then it's on her not them. Most procedures a Dr. will go over the common complications with you in the office but give you documentation for you to read on your own that covers all complications including the rare ones that almost never happen to read at home so that if you catch something knowing more about your personal health than the doctor would you can make a point of it. For example "Thinner colon due to (insert type of medication not normally relevant to what this doctor is seeing her for)" in written documentation would be there so she could be all "oh Doctor I have this issue so you know.

It seems strange to me that you'd have no legal recourse on a rare complication. Does that mean common complications are open to legal recourse as opposed to the less common ones?

I'm wondering too why there's no recourse (though I don't think it's implied that common ones do have one) OP, did an actual lawyer tell you that or just the hospital?

All those papers you sign before any procedure cover the doctors ass so you can't sue.

It's a risk factor that you acknowledge on the consent form. If you didn't sign it, the procedure wouldn't have been done.

Technically speaking, it doesn't matter what you sign if you can prove that you were wronged because the doctor was negligent.

I think what he meant is that is is a known (albeit rare) complication that can happen (and mostly happens) without the doctor making a mistake. If it was something that never happened before he could probably sue.

Ya, op signed the consent forms which prevents him from taking legal action. As #17 said, you can still sue (even though you signed) as long as you can prove the doctor was negligent. However, in this case, op would have no proof of that. It's known that this complication can happen (although fairly rare) and he wouldn't be able to prove that the doctor did anything specific or negligent that caused this complication. Now if he knew the doctor was drunk or something, then he could sue.

Honestly this sickens us in the medical field. As soon as one complication happens everyone looks to sue. It is an absolute joke. Surgeries are not cut and dry and routine, everyone's anatomy is different. The complications are discussed with the patient as well, and yes consent is obtained. The doctors don't do this willingly, they are very distraught when stuff like this happens too. Yes this sucks, though we aren't talking death here or serious loss, we are talking about a few months with a colostomy bag. If a lawyer loses a case, a chef burns your steak, a plumber busts a pipe, none of these people get sued--they refund the cost amd try to help the best they can, just like doctors do in these situations. Yet that's not enough, they also have to fight crooked lawyers looking to cash in on patients experiencing complications.

#29. While what you said is true, I imagine that few months with a colostomy bag is going to be more than just a minor inconvenience and that she'll not likely be refunded for her botched colonoscopy. Additionally, she'll have to pay for the repair procedure (premiums, deductable, and copays). While it's true that no one wins in this situation OP really gets the shit end of the stick.

#29. While what you said is true, I imagine that few months with a colostomy bag is going to be more than just a minor inconvenience and that she'll not likely be refunded for her botched colonoscopy. Additionally, she'll have to pay for the repair procedure (premiums, deductable, and copays). While it's true that no one wins in this situation OP really gets the shit end of the stick.

You can always sue. You sign those papers under duress, so what you agree to is null and void. No matter how sleazy the lawyer is, he won't take your case unless he knows there's a high probability of winning.

What duress? You always have a choice, just sit at home (with the lawyer) and sue the Grim Reaper when he comes, or maybe try and get a restraining order against him...

#56, no, you don't have a choice. Your doctor orders you to get a colonoscopy -- nobody gets one for shits and giggles. After a day or two of "prep" (for the uninitiated, that means an induced case of diarrhea), you go in and just before you go under anesthesia, they shove these papers in your face. You don't really have "free will" to say, "Oh, no, I do not accept that you may perforate my colon!" This is why malpractice cases for this are often successful.

Lol #57, as physicians we give our professional opinions on medical treatment. Patients ultimately have the final say in their medical care. So yes, we advise screening colonoscopies but at the end of the day, the patient is free to decline.

I don't know where you live but in most places a doctor can't really order you to do anything. If you don't want a colonoscopy you can just go home. If you don't want to interact with doctors, don't go to one in the first place. There are plenty of choices one can make. But obviously (at least I think it should be obvious) you cannot say: "I want the procedure done but you have to pinky swear that I won't have a known complication" or "I don't accept the risks, just do the procedure without them, fly in someone from Hogwarts to perform some magic, if neccessary."

I did some actual research. People do successfully sue physicians for perforations that occur during colonoscopies. Apparently, these are usually a result of carelessness or improper procedure. Just because this complication is listed as a possibility doesn't absolve the doctor of liability.

Again though, the doctor would have to have been negligent and you'd probably have to prove that. But as patients, we have to accept that there are huge risks and complications that can come from surgery or any type of medical procedure. In my opinion, we also have to realize how lucky we are to have such advanced technologies at our disposal and that we are asking these doctors to save us from diseases, and things that if untreated would leave us with pain, a horrible quality of life, and most often, death. We are asking them to do the unnatural and what would've been actually impossible a century ago, and prevent death and lifetime pain and suffering. So yes, obviously there are times that things can go wrong and there are risks while they do these death defying, life saving, procedures. And we also have to realize that doctors are still human. In my opinion, I wouldn't try and sue a doctor unless there was very obvious negligence or fault, or unless I would have a lifetime of pain and suffering and crazy expenses that I wouldn't be able to cover without the money won. Although what happened to op was tragic, it is a known risk and complication that op was probably told about before he signed that consent form. And there's a huge chance the doctor did absolutely nothing wrong. And although it's horrible that op will have to suffer a colostomy bag for 6 months, this complication will not affect the rest of his life. TL;DR: Don't sue unless it's absolutely necessary. Op knew the risks before he signed the consent form.

They sue because they don't have the money lying around for multiple surgeries to fix what went wrong, fault or no fault.

You need to tear that doctor a new asshole! Just like he did to you.

OP's physician gave "shit doctor" two meanings.

That's very unfortunate, but if the papers you sign before hand mentioned this as a risk of the procedure, then, yeah, there is nothing legally you can do.

i dont understand why they didnt stitch the hole they made closed while in procedure. 0.o

The procedure she had isn't surgery. A colonoscopy is "colon scoping" aka they use a miniature camera on a little stick to examine the end of the intestinal tract. They might not even have found out until later that it had been perforated unless they noticed while removing the camera. However, I don't know why OP says she can't have the surgery for six months. They should be able to do it right away, so I'm assuming that's a funding or bureaucracy thing.

I just worked in colorectal. They perforation can't heal while the colon is functioning and there's a hole - you don't want faeces in your abdominal cavity. So a stoma is made and the final part of the colon is left to heal. You need 6 months for the whole healing process before its safe and likely to be a successful reversal of the stoma. Hope this makes things clearer :) I'd comment on the suing part but I'm in the UK so I'd probably be wrong.

Thanks for sharing that. It's interesting and good to know.

They better pay for the operation, don't let them be tight now. It's only fair, your assholes never gonna be tight again

You're an idiot.

I'm a registered nurse. You ABSOLUTELY have legal recourse. Don't listen to that bs. You need to contact an attorney.

If it's a known risk that was made clear to OP beforehand, and has nothing to do with the doctor doing anything wrong, then that would be a waste of money. And if OP did win that case it would just show how screwed up our legal system is.

As #55 mentioned, there is nothing legally they can do if it was stated as a risk of the procedure beforehand (and wasn't due to doctor negligence). There is a reason people have to sign papers before any procedure because if everyone did what you suggested (sue) every time one of the known outcomes, however rare, happened, then doctors wouldn't do life-saving procedures at all. A colonoscopy might not seem like a life-saving procedure, but it's ability to detect colon cancer does save lives.