Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Alleges Undiagnosed Colon Perforation During Colonoscopy

162017_132140396847214_292624_nOn October 15, 2015, a Baltimore medical malpractice case was filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City alleging that on September 9, 2011, the plaintiff underwent a colonoscopy at a local Baltimore hospital during which her colon was perforated but the tear was negligently undiagnosed for four days.

The plaintiff was originally treated for diverticulosis and discharged to home after her colonoscopy. Later that same day, the plaintiff returned to the emergency room complaining about severe abdominal pain. Many specialists were called in to diagnose the plaintiff’s condition, with different specialists diagnosing infection, a hematoma, and even colon cancer.

The plaintiff’s Baltimore medical malpractice lawsuit criticizes the various medical specialists called in for consultation, alleging that they focused on diagnoses within their specialties instead of broadly considering the possible causes of the plaintiff’s complaints and her medical condition.

The plaintiff’s perforated colon was not diagnosed until exploratory surgery was performed four days after her colonoscopy. While her large colon perforation was successfully repaired during the exploratory surgery, complications arose during her recovery that required that she remain hospitalized for thirty days, followed by extended rehabilitation in a nursing home.

The Baltimore medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that the physician who performed the colonoscopy was negligent in perforating the plaintiff’s colon, and the defendant hospital was negligent in failing to timely diagnose and treat her perforated colon.

Hazel L. Peterson v. Richard A. Baum, MD, et al., Case No. 24C15005218.

Perforating the colon during a colonoscopy (referred to as colonoscopic perforation, or “CP”) is a rare but serious complication of colonoscopy procedures, which occurs in 0.016% to 0.2% of diagnostic colonoscopies, and up to 5% following some colonoscopic interventions.

The risk factor for CP is greater for therapeutic colonoscopies and there is an association between CP and older patients (patients over 75 have a 4-to-6 fold rise in CP rates when compared to younger patients) and patients with comorbidities. CP may result from forceful insertion of an endoscope. CP may require a prolonged hospital stay and may result in stoma formation, intra-abdominal sepsis, or death. Treatment may range from bowel rest along with broad-spectrum antibiotics, to endoscopic management, to operative management through an open or laparoscopic approach. Most patients with CP require prompt open surgery.

Women have a greater risk factor for CP than men (women have a greater colonic length and a more mobile transverse colon that increases the difficulty in performing colonoscopy in them).

Patients who suffer CP may have symptoms and signs of peritonitis within several hours of having a colonoscopy. Diagnostic procedures for suspected CP may include a plain roentgenogram of the abdomen, CT imaging, or MRI to identify intra-abdominal free gas.

The 30-day morbidity rate for CP patients is between 21% and 53%; the 30-day mortality rate for CP patients is between 0% and 26%. CP patients spend an average of one to three weeks in the hospital.


If you or a loved one suffered serious injury (or worse) as a result of medical malpractice in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, you should promptly find a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer (Maryland medical malpractice lawyer) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 26th, 2015 at 5:17 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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