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Colonoscopy Malpractice and Negligence Claims

A colonoscopy is a procedure used to investigate a patient’s bowel. Often this procedure is used to detect or prevent bowel cancer.

The standard procedure will be performed by a doctor using thin tube with a camera attached to it. The tube may also have a snare attached to it. The purpose of the investigation is often to find small growths called polyps in the lower part of the bowel that could eventually become cancerous. Once they are located the polyps are removed and then sent to the pathology department for review.

The procedure is normally very safe but sometimes the patient’s bowel can inadvertently be perforated during the procedure. This can sometimes come about due to a colonoscopy being performed inappropriately, such as a medical practitioner attempting to force the colonoscope through a tight stricture in the bowel and rupturing the wall of the bowel. This equates to a substandard level of care, which is grounds for a medical negligence case that the patient can bring about.


This type of injury is often recognised at the time of the procedure and a repair can be undertaken immediately. On other occasions the injury is sometimes not recognised at the time it occurs and the patient can then be discharged home.

The perforated bowel may then leak over the following hours and days and this can lead to the patient developing a serious condition such as sepsis or peritonitis. Signs of a perforated bowel can include:

  • Surgical emphysema (from escaped bowel gas)
  • A swollen neck (from escaped bowel gas)
  • A collapsed lung (from escaped bowel gas)
  • Stomach/chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Abnormal vital signs

A perforation of the colon, which is a known recognised risk of the procedure is often not thought by many medical experts to be negligent. However, the failure to recognise and act on the signs and symptoms of a perforation may well be held to be negligent.


In one case, in which our solicitors acted, a patient was awarded a significant compensation for the negligent delay of 4 days in recognising that the patient had suffered a perforated colon. The delay caused peritonitis which led to the patient suffering injuries which completely changed their life and ability to live independently.

Our highly experienced team of specialist clinical negligence lawyers are here to assist and to advise. They will advise you comprehensively about the merits of your claim, funding and ensure that you and your family get the best possible results.

The majority of our cases are funded by way of a conditional fee agreement, more commonly known as a no win no fee agreement. This means there is no financial risk to you.

Our Medical Negligence Solicitors are backed by four decades of experience. Our legal practice and team of London Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving favourable client outcomes. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0800 437 0322 today.

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