Major and even minor surgical procedures carry risk. Complications include internal bleeding that may go undetected during a patient’s critical postoperative time period. So it’s vitally important that healthcare professionals employ practices and methods that can correctly diagnose a condition if the patient begins to show any abnormal signs or symptoms, including changes in baseline vital signs such as pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
Surgery Risks & Precautions That Should Be Taken
A postoperative patient’s condition can go from stable to critical quickly if internal bleeding occurs. That’s when there should be an immediate callback of the surgical team and emergency protocols instituted. Healthcare professionals can and should be held responsible for their decisions during these crucial moments.
Before a patient undergoes surgery, his or her medical history is taken. This information is a key component in avoiding problems during and after surgery. Patients should be asked about their current medications and any unusual bruising or bleeding episodes.
Causes of Internal Bleeding After Surgery
The causes of internal bleeding may be due to a number of conditions such as damage to a blood vessel, insufficient blood clotting factors, and anticoagulant drugs. Internal bleeding can also be the result of trauma due to accidents, sports injuries, aneurysms, broken bones (especially large ones), blood-related diseases, kidney disease, GI conditions, ruptured cysts, stomach ulcers, and tuberculosis. Lastly, internal bleeding can result from surgical error.
Symptoms of Internal Bleeding
Internal bleeding is sometimes obvious, stemming from wound leakage, for example. But other times the symptoms are not clear-cut. Health care professionals must evaluate where bleeding is located, how much has occurred, and what parts of the body are affected. Internal abdominal bleeding causes pain and may be the result of gallstones, appendicitis, ulcers, pancreatitis or other conditions.
If enough blood loss has happened, the patient may be weak or feel lightheaded and exhibit symptoms of stroke. Critically low and/or falling blood pressure should ring alarm bells as well. In such a case, ordering tests without an actual physical examination—as happens perhaps too often—may be wholly inadequate. To make matters even more complicated, the patient may be admitted to a medical facility in an unconscious state and be unable to describe where pain or bleeding is taking place.
Managing Internal Bleeding After Surgery
Managing postoperative internal bleeding requires early recognition of this potentially devastating complication. If a surgeon has inadvertently nicked a large vein leading to a high-pressure bleed for example, the results could be fatal within a short period of time. During any postoperative period the surgeon must remain alert for signs of hemorrhage. These can be subtle or missed or falsely attributed to postoperative fluid shifts. One study found 77 percent of abdominal re-explorations being performed within twenty-four hours of the primary operation. That’s when the results are most optimal for the patient. After that, the mortality rates increase dramatically.
Contact an Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Surgical Error Resulting in Internal Bleeding
Any surgical patient runs the risk of possible complications. If you or someone you know has experienced internal bleeding due to surgical error in Florida, please contact our office to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You can contact us online or call us directly at 888.815.6398. We will be happy to answer any questions during your free consultation.