• Ranked in Chambers & Legal 500 for Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
  • Featured in the Times Top Law Firms 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 for Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
  • In 2022 alone, we were successful in securing over £91 million in damages for our clients

Bowel Surgery Clinical Negligence Compensation Claims

An injury to your bowel during surgery can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications. There are several common types of bowel surgery that may result in this type of injury, including small and large bowel resections. If you have sustained an injury in this way, you may be entitled to claim bowel surgery clinical negligence compensation.

At Potter Rees Dolan, we have helped many clients to claim the compensation they were entitled to and taken the responsibility off their shoulders so that they could focus on recovery. Our friendly team handles all clinical negligence claims with care and sensitivity, and compensation can help to cover any medical or travel expenses you incur as a result of your injury, any earnings you lost if you needed to take time off work to recover, and perhaps more importantly, the costs of care given commercially or by family members.

Potter Rees Dolan is happy to conduct a free initial discussion about your circumstances to advise you on the viability of your claim. Call us on 0800 027 2557, or fill in the contact form on this page to arrange for us to call you back at your convenience.

Why choose Potter Rees Dolan for a bowel surgery clinical negligence claim?

Potter Rees Dolan’s clinical negligence team has a reputation as one of the very best in the UK, and we work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to pursue the outcomes they deserve. All of the senior members of our highly esteemed clinical negligence team feature in the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers guides, and have a combined 100 years’ experience in representing clients to achieve their goals. 

We are proud of the ways in which we have supported families through difficult times, and ensure that we provide practical advice and regular communication so that you always know what is happening with your claim. We understand that a bowel perforation can be a serious and potentially devastating injury, so we will do everything we can to handle your claim on your behalf, so that you have more time to focus on your recovery.

There are often time limits on when you can make a claim for compensation, but a perforated bowel can take a long time for symptoms to develop, which is part of the reason why the diagnosis is easy to miss. This is why you should speak to an expert clinical negligence solicitor as soon as possible to ensure the best possible chance for your claim to succeed. 

What types of bowel injury are eligible for compensation?

Many types of bowel surgery, even those that are relatively common - including small and large bowel resections - can result in an injury if they are not undertaken with due care and attention. If a doctor, surgeon or other medical professional has caused an injury during one of these bowel procedures, you will usually be able to claim bowel surgery clinical negligence compensation.

It is also possible to sustain a bowel injury during other types of surgery, such as hysterectomies and laparoscopies, or colonoscopies, as all of these procedures take place near to the bowel. Therefore, even if you have not had bowel surgery, doctors should be aware that your symptoms could be a result of a perforated bowel or similar injury and investigate this possibility.

If you report your symptoms to a doctor and they fail to diagnose a perforated bowel, the condition can quickly worsen and have serious consequences. If you have experienced problems like peritonitis or other infections, ongoing pain, incontinence, or sepsis due to an undiagnosed bowel injury, you may be entitled to claim clinical negligence compensation.

Compensation for bowel surgery injuries

Even a minor surgical error can have serious, long-lasting and far-reaching consequences that can affect everything in your life. A bowel injury can affect not only your physical and mental health, but can affect your work, your personal life, your family and your relationships. The recovery period can be difficult, and you may need to rely on people for help, or be unable to engage in your usual activities, all of which can negatively affect your life.

This can also be an expensive process. You may need ongoing care, rehabilitation or private medical treatment to recover from a surgical error or injury. Beyond this, you may need to pay for travel to medical or physiotherapy appointments, make adjustments to your home or lifestyle, or take time off work, which can result in lost earnings.

All of these things are taken into account when calculating the amount of compensation you could receive following a bowel injury during surgery. In addition to covering your expenses, compensation will account for the severity of your injury, and the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result. For this reason, the amount of compensation you could receive will vary.

Contact us today

For help and advice in pursuing a bowel surgery clinical negligence claim, contact Potter Rees Dolan on 0800 027 2557 as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you can request a call back by filling out the form on the side of the page or visiting our contact page; if there is someone specific at the firm you would like to speak to, visit their profile on our people page.


What is a large bowel resection?

Large bowel resection surgery removes all or part of your large bowel (also known as a colectomy). The large bowel connects the small intestine to the anus. Large bowel resection is used to treat many conditions, including:

  • A blockage in the intestine due to scar tissue
  • Colon cancer
  • Diverticular disease (disease of the large bowel)

Most people who have a large bowel resection recover fully. Even with a colostomy, most people are able to do the same activities they were doing before their surgery. This includes most sports, travel, gardening, hiking, other outdoor activities, and most types of work.

What is a small bowel resection?

This surgery removes part or all of your small bowel (small intestine) when it is blocked or diseased.

Most digestion (breaking down and absorbing nutrients) of the food you eat takes place in the small intestine. The surgery can be performed laparoscopically or with open surgery.

Small bowel resection is used to treat:

  • A blockage in the intestine caused by scar tissue or congenital (from birth) deformities
  • Bleeding, infection or ulcers caused by inflammation of the small intestine
  • Conditions that may cause inflammation, including regional ileitis, regional enteritis and Crohn's disease
  • Cancer
  • Carcinoid tumours
  • Meckel's diverticulum
  • Noncancerous (benign) tumours
  • Precancerous polyps

As with a large bowel resection, most patients will recover fully following a small bowel resection. Even if you need an ileostomy, this should not prevent you from undertaking almost all your usual everyday activities, including most types of work, recreational activities, and travelling. If a large part of your small intestine was removed, you may have problems with loose stools and getting enough nutrients from the food you eat.

What is necrotising enterocolitis?

Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a serious bowel condition which, according to Great Ormond Street Hospital, is the most common surgical emergency in newborns. It particularly affects premature or ill babies.

NEC occurs when tissues in the bowel become inflamed and start to die. This is known as necrosis. If a hole develops in the damaged tissue, the contents of the gut can leak into the baby’s abdominal cavity, causing life-threatening infection.

What are the symptoms of NEC?

Symptoms of NEC include:

  • Problems with feeding
  • Swollen or tender abdomen (tummy)
  • Blood in the baby’s poo
  • Vomiting (in particular, vomiting bile, a dark green or yellow fluid)
  • Low blood pressure

NEC can be difficult to diagnose, as many of the symptoms are seen in other conditions that affect premature or unwell babies, and babies with NEC can deteriorate very quickly.

How is NEC treated?

The first line of treatment is usually to rest the baby’s bowel by stopping milk feeds. A tube may be used to drain the contents of the baby’s stomach. Fluids, nutrients and medicines, including drugs to raise the blood pressure and antibiotics, can be given intravenously (through the baby’s veins).

However, if the baby’s condition continues to deteriorate, or if there is evidence of a perforation in the bowel, an operation will be required under general anaesthetic to remove the damaged part of the bowel.


What are the longer-term consequences of NEC?

In cases where NEC is successfully treated without surgery, the outlook for babies affected is usually very positive.

Where surgery is required, the outcome will often depend on the amount of bowel that has been removed, which is why early diagnosis and treatment is very important.

There are risks associated with surgery, particularly in very small or unhealthy babies. Sadly, many babies who have surgery for NEC do not survive.

If the surgeons are unable to join the undamaged sections of the bowel back together, they will create an opening through the skin of the abdomen called a stoma, which will allow the baby to continue to pass waste. This can usually be reversed once the bowel has had time to heal, but in rare cases it has to be permanent.

Children who have had a large section of bowel removed may suffer from a condition called short bowel syndrome, which makes it difficult to absorb enough fluids and nutrients.

How can I find out more about NEC?

If you are looking for additional information and support on NEC, there are a number of organisations and resources that may be useful to you:

If you are concerned that you or your newborn baby has received substandard care as a result of medical negligence, it’s important to seek legal advice. If negligence can be proven, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.


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