Bowel Obstruction - Occurrence and Causes

A bowel or intestinal obstruction occurs when there is a block or an obstacle in the passageway that transports digested food waste through the bowel and out of the body. It can occur in the large or small intestine, and the blockage can be complete or partial in nature.

When an obstruction is caused, it leads to undigested foods and digestive secretions to collect above the blockage. When the blockage is beyond the intestine's capacity to hold, it gets distended and collapses the segment. A complete blockage in the bowel is considered to be a medical emergency, and must be treated on priority.

Various causes and factors may be responsible for a bowel obstruction, such as:

· Formations of adhesions or scar tissues after abdominal surgeries, that obstruct a part of the bowel

· Stoppage of the rhythmic muscle contractions in the bowel, triggered by other ailments such as acute heart attack, chest infection or kidney failure

· Hernia or volvulus

· The formation of a malignant tumor

· Severe constipation that impacts stools

· Crohn's disease

· Gallstones

· Swallowing an indigestible object

· Intussusception - a condition where a section of the intestine folds in over itself

· Bowel malformation

Symptoms that Indicate Bowel Obstruction

Some symptoms of bowel obstruction may be more predominant and visible than others, depending upon the location and size of the obstruction. Common symptoms include:

· Nausea and vomiting

· Middle abdominal pain

· Cramps in the lower abdomen

· Swelling or abdominal distension

· Difficulty in passing stools

· Diarrhea

Treating Bowel Obstruction

The physician will need to conduct a thorough physical examination to determine the location of the obstruction and rule out the possibility of pancreatitis or gastroenteritis. Blood samples must be collected to test for anemia, infections, kidney, and liver functioning. Abdominal X-ray or an ultrasound may help determine the obstruction and diagnose the appropriate treatment.

Based on the severity of the obstruction, the doctor may choose to perform any of the following procedures:

· Laparoscopy (keyhole surgery)

· Endoscopic stenting

· Laparotomy

· Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy

Bowel Obstruction by Medical Malpractice

An obstruction in the small or large intestine is a medical emergency that demands immediate diagnosis and the highest standard of treatment by the healthcare provider. Minor obstructions may get naturally resolved with no requirement of any invasive treatment. However, surgical attention is required when there is a complete blockage in the bowel.

When proper diagnosis and effective treatment is not extended by the medical team, the slightest level of medical negligence could have a disastrous impact on the patient's life. If left untreated or improperly diagnosed, a bowel obstruction could further lead to a perforation and the onset of sepsis, and often death.

If you have been impacted by medical malpractice while getting treated for bowel obstruction, contact our New York City medical malpractice attorneys. Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff (RMFW) have law offices situated in Astoria, Queens, New York City and two offices in Brooklyn.

Schedule a free confidential consultation with an attorney at RMFW Law to understand your entitlements and to see if your case is winnable and viable. We provide the best course of legal action possible. We have won millions of dollars in settlements for medical malpractice victims. Speak to us today at 212-344-1000.

We want to win as badly as you do.


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