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Colonoscopy Malpractice

Colonoscopy Malpractice

South Carolina Medical Malpractice Lawyers Stand by Your Side after a Failed Colonoscopy

Professional representation for victims failed or delayed diagnoses of colon cancer

Colonoscopies are necessary procedures for people who have turned 50. They can help detect cancer of the colon, also known as the large intestine. Rectal cancer is cancer of the final six inches of the colon. The combination of colon and rectal cancer is called colorectal cancers.  Most colorectal cancers begin as small growths called polyps. A major aim of a colonoscopy is to remove the polyps before they become malignant.

At McGowan, Hood, and Felder, LLC, our lawyers have been helping South Carolina residents bring claims in courts for medical malpractice, including failure to detect or treat colorectal cancer. Our record of success in medical error cases includes multi-million dollar jury verdicts and substantial awards when death occurs, or the physical harm is severe. Our attorneys work with medical professionals who review South Carolina colonoscopy malpractice including an analysis of what medical steps should have been taken.

How the failure to diagnose colorectal cancer harms patients

Colorectal cancer is treatable if it is detected early enough. Delayed treatment can mean that aggressive cancer treatments will be needed such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In the worst cases, the cancer is inoperable, and the patient dies. Delay in treatment or a failure to diagnose colon cancer can necessitate removing the colon entirely and replacing the colon with a colostomy bag. Using a colostomy bag for the rest of a person’s life can be extremely uncomfortable.

The injuries associated with the failure to diagnose colon cancer are:

  • Early death
  • Loss of bowel function
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering
  • Extensive medical treatments

Common types of colonoscopy-related medical malpractice

There are many reasons GI doctors and other health providers fail to properly diagnose cancer. Some of the more common reasons are:

  • Failing to recommend timely screenings. Every person over 50 should get screened regularly.
  • Failing to order proper screening tests. Some of the tests that should be considered are a fecal occult blood card, a barium enema, and a flexible sigmoidoscopy.
  • Failing to respond to a patient’s complaints. The complaints that should trigger a full review are:
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Constipation, diarrhea, and other changes in bowel movements
    • Abdominal pain or discomfort
    • Tiredness
    • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Failing to detect cancer and remove polyps during the colonoscopy procedure.
  • Failing to get a full family history.
  • Failure of a family doctor to refer to a GI doctor.
  • Failing to properly perform a colonoscopy.
  • Performing a colonoscopy on a patient who has not sufficiently cleaned their colon before the procedure.
  • Failing to inform the patient of the steps needed to clean their colon before the colonoscopy.
  • Failing to properly interpret any medical tests or tissue samples.

Issues with William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center

A significant case of delayed colon cancer diagnosis has occurred at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Association Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Our medical malpractice lawyers are helping patients and families through litigation because there have been reports of failures to diagnose due to delayed screenings. According to, Congress is investigating the Department of Veterans’ Affairs because the delays in treatment of veterans have caused numerous veterans to die.

One veteran, Barry Coates, who went to the Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Center for abdominal pain, testified before Congress that the failure to diagnose his cancer has “ruined the quality of his life,” and forced him to wear a colostomy bag and catheter. Coates, according to the report, is just one of 26 veterans that the Center failed to help. Six of those 26 died due to the delays. Coates was one of them.

Additional types of colonoscopy Malpractice

Medical error during the colonoscopy procedure can include health problems that are secondary but dangerous to the main goal of detecting cancer. Some common medical mistakes doctors make during the colonoscopy that can cause serious injury or death are:

  • Perforation of the bowel. If a doctor or medical assistant punches a hole in a bowel, the abdomen can become distended, which can lead to peritonitis and infection. Perforations can cause death or severe injury.
  • Heart and lung complications. Like almost any surgery, the heart and lung can be damaged. The risks increase with age. Since colonoscopies are performed on older citizens, cardiology and pulmonary problems are a major concern. Patients, and the amount of anesthesia they receive, should be properly monitored during and after the procedure.
  • Bleeding. Extensive bleeding is a sign of medical error and that the patient’s life is in danger. The bleeding should be treated immediately.
  • Infection. Medical teams and hospitals should always inspect for infections. Infections in older patients can be quite serious. The health providers should also take medically reasonable steps to prevent infections.

Speak with an experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorney right away

Delay can hurt your chances of getting proper medical help and damage your ability to get a strong legal recovery. The skilled South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys at McGowan, Hood, and Felder, LLC, have the experience patients need. Our legal team has been helping local residents in Anderson, Rock Hill, Columbia, Sumter, Georgetown, and the surrounding areas for many years. Our advocates fight to get patients and the families of deceased patients all the money the law allows. Please contact our offices at 803-327-7800 to discuss your case or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.