Visitor Question

Needed colon surgery because of gastroenterologist’s negligence…

Submitted By: Janice (North Carolina)

In 2004 I started having signs of not being able to have bowel movements, and was going to my regular doctor. She finally referred me to a gastroenterologist in my area. I went in, he looked at me and asked “what brings you here.” I said, “my doctor determined I have irritable bowel disease and referred me here.”

This gastro doctor did no tests, and didn’t even talk to me about my issue. I left very upset. In September of 2004, my regular doctor sent me to Duke hospital for my pain and severe constipation, and I was found to have No Transit in my colon, with chronic irritable bowel disease.

They did life-saving surgery and removed my colon with a resection. I still have the same constipation issues and every few years have to go back to Duke to have more tests done.

Can I sue the gastroenterologist doctor for not even taking the time to determine my problem before it ended up being too late for me? If he had caught the problem earlier, I could have avoided surgery and all the pain and suffering I went through.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Janice,

The facts you present seem to support a claim for medical malpractice against the gastroenterologist. If, through expert medical testimony, you can prove the gastroenterologist’s failure to make a proper diagnosis directly resulted in your having to undergo unnecessary surgery, you will likely succeed in your malpractice claim.

Believing you were the victim of medical malpractice and proving it are two entirely different matters. These claims are normally hard-fought. You can be sure the gastroenterologist and his insurance company will not admit the doctor engaged in medical negligence. To do so would hurt the doctor’s career.

Do not attempt to handle this claim on your own. You can be sure the doctor’s insurance company will provide the doctor with a seasoned defense attorney. To have any chance of succeeding will require your being represented by a seasoned personal injury attorney with a concentration on medical malpractice.

Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys will not charge for an initial office consultation. Gather copies of all your medical bills and make several appointments with various personal injury attorneys. Choose one you feel comfortable with and place the matter in his or her hands.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 13, 2014

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