Gastroenterologist not guilty when patient suffers perforation after colonoscopy

John Langhenry and Melissa Gordon successfully defended a gastroenterologist who perforated a patient’s colon during a colonoscopy for allegedly failing to timely diagnose the perforation.  The Plaintiff claimed that she called the defendant twenty-four hours after she underwent a colonoscopy with polyp removal and advised the defendant that she had severe abdominal pain.  The physician testified that the complaint of pain was not severe and, as a result, he told the plaintiff to take Tylenol and use a heating pad.  He also told the plaintiff to call back if the pain persisted or worsened.  Instead of calling the physician back the following day, the plaintiff presented to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a perforation in the colon with extensive peritonitis, abscess and infection.  The defense asserted that complaints of some pain after a colonoscopy for a short period of time are not unusual and that, since the pain was not severe, it was appropriate to instruct the patient to take pain medication, to use a heating pad and to call back if the pain did not resolve or worsened.

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