Fecal Impaction Complications in Nursing Homes
Nursing Home Lawyers for Patients With Impacted Bowels (Fecal Impaction)Every nursing home patient with an elevated risk of developing an impacted bowel could suffer severe pain and medical complications if left untreated. Patients with an impacted bowel (fecal impaction) may need a colonoscopy to determine if there is bowel obstruction or perforation in the intestines.
Preventative measures must be taken after the blockage is treated to ensure that the intestinal wall does not become impacted again. Experiencing a bowel perforation could be deadly.
The nursing facility abuse attorneys at our Chicago based law firm are committed to holding facilities accountable when a patient is injured due to complications related to an impacted bowel. Contact our law firm (888) 424-5757 for a free case review of your situation under Illinois law.
Nursing care staff members must remain attentive to their patients' needs and recognize symptoms that signal the need for medical treatment. The failure to diagnose or treat medical conditions can be considered a form of medical malpractice.
Symptoms and Complications of an Impacted Bowel
A fecal impaction (impacted bowel) is the result of severe constipation due to an obstruction in the intestines. The primary cause is the hardening and drying of the stool as it moves through the intestines, making it difficult to pass the stool without medical intervention.
Symptoms of an impacted bowel include the following.
- Cramping or bloating
- Abdominal pain caused by bowel obstruction or hernia mesh
- Blood in the stool or rectum
- Pain in the lower back accompanied by severe strain when attempting to pass a stool
- Intense pain in the rectum from a hard mass of stool (fecal matter)
- Discomfort in the rectum from scar tissue
- Lightheaded or rapid heartbeat when attempting to go to the bathroom
- Loss of bladder control
Patients who are at higher risk of developing an impacted bowel must be monitored for severe complications. Timely measures can be taken if there is a blockage in the intestines that include a physical examination.
Spinal Cord Damage and Hernia Problems
Spinal cord injuries played a significant role in negatively affecting the control of the resident's bowel movements. In some cases, the spinal cord injury takes away the resident's ability to sense when the rectum is full.
Also, a hernia could allow the intestinal wall to push through the herniated abdomen, pinch the intestines, and cause bowel perforation or obstruction.
Proton Pump Inhibitors and Bowel Obstruction
The FDA and National Center for Biotechnology Information recognize an association between proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
The longer the senior home resident uses PPI, the more likely they are to develop irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The resident may experience bloating and diarrhea that usually requires antibiotic treatment.
Causes of Fecal Impaction
Diet, medications, and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to the formation of an intestinal blockage. Exercise, water, and sound nutritional choices can all reduce the chances of impaction, but some patients are confined to their beds or require the use of medications that increase the risk of an impacted bowel.
The most common causes of fecal impaction include the following.
- Sedentary living and lack of exercise
- Nervous disorders that affect the function of the intestines
- Narcotic pain relievers
- Overuse of medicines used to treat diarrhea
When an impacted bowel is diagnosed and treated promptly, the prognosis is almost always positive. The blockage can be removed often through the use of laxatives, enemas, or manual removal.
After removing the blockage, changes must be made to the patient's diet and routine that will prevent the formation of future blockages.
Sample Nursing Facility Bowel Complication Lawsuits & Settlements
$750,000 Illinois Settlement for Nursing Home Bowel Complication
An eighty-seven-year-old nursing home resident with a history of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome was involved in a civil lawsuit. She had informed the elder home staff that her abdomen hurt, and she was experiencing constipation.
Documents reveal that the staff did nothing despite the woman's pleas. Eventually, the staff examined the woman and saw that her bowel condition needed immediate medical attention at a nearby hospital. Doctors performed surgery, including a fecal disimpactation procedure, colostomy, and vagina reconstruction.
The woman was left with a permanent disability, pain, and enormous medical bills. She filed a civil lawsuit against the nursing center, citing a long list of failures as proof of its negligence.
The victim sought compensation for her pain, expenses, and suffering, among other things. The nursing home protested but eventually relented when faced with its glaring errors. The woman recovered $750,000 in the settlement.
$1,350,000 Illinois Settlement for Nursing Facility Bowel Complication
Doctors transfer their patient in his middle 40s to the Illinois care facility after discovering that his back injury required rehabilitation. While at the nursing home, he developed bladder incontinence.
Unfortunately, this condition was not recognized by the nursing staff or his treating doctors, so he did not receive much-needed treatment. As a result, he sustained cauda equina syndrome and would live with that condition and the related pain for the rest of his life.
He filed a civil lawsuit against the nursing center, claiming that they should have checked him for incontinence problems, treated his incontinence problems, or transferred him to a better care center.
Their lack of care created his economic (bills, lost income) and non-economic (disability, suffering, pain) damages. The case entered the discovery phase. Eventually, the plaintiff and defendants agreed to a negotiated $1.35 million out-of-court settlement.
$760,000 Illinois Verdict for Nursing Center Bowel Complication
A nursing home resident and her late 60's with Alzheimer's disease exhibited signs of incontinence, including diarrhea and vomiting. She also suffered from bowel disorders in the past.
Despite the apparent warning signs, the attending staff failed to treat her. Instead, they allowed the resident to leave the facility to see family when she fell ill from incontinence.
Her family rushed her to the hospital, but the prognosis was poor. She passed away not long after these events. Her family brought an action against the nursing center and medical professionals.
They alleged that the defendants' combined negligence caused her untimely death. They sought compensation for all of the damage that it caused. An Illinois jury awarded them $760,000 for loss of companionship. Most of that money went to her daughter, and the remainder went to her son.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC Prosecuting Impacted Bowel Cases
If you or a loved one suffered from an impacted bowel and the failure of nursing care staff to diagnose and treat the condition resulted in undue pain and suffering and severe medical complications, you might be entitled to compensation. We can help.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, our elder home neglect lawyers are committed to holding negligent nursing care facilities accountable when their failure to provide proper care results in the injury of their patients. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer who will explain your rights to you and review the details of your case.