Indianapolis Laxative Overdose Attorney - Cohen & Malad, LLP

Colonoscopy Prep Medication Error/ Laxative Overdose

Indianapolis Colonoscopy Medication Error Lawyers


All medical procedures carry a risk. However, when medical personnel make mistakes or are not properly trained, these risks escalate and can lead to serious injury or death.

A colonoscopy is a medical examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel. The entire length of the colon, four to five feet, is evaluated through this procedure. To perform a colonoscopy, a physician will mildly sedate the patient and insert a fiber optic camera attached to a flexible tube into the patient’s bowel in order to view the colon.

Colonoscopies are often used as a preventative measure for detecting colon polyps and precancerous or cancerous growths. This test is also used for patients that may be demonstrating symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease, while not fatal, can limit the quality of a patient’s life due to the symptoms of the disease: pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Once this disease is diagnosed, often via colonoscopy, medication can be used to manage the symptoms.

Doctors will often advise patients that the preparation for a colonoscopy is worse than the procedure itself. The procedure lasts anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, but it can take up to 24 hours to prepare the body for a colonoscopy. In order for the doctor to be able to view the walls of the colon, it must be completely empty prior to the procedure. There are various methods that a doctor will prescribe for a patient to prepare for the procedure.

Preparation usually begins 1 day prior to the procedure. Oral laxatives or enemas are used to flush the colon. Additionally, a bowel irrigation preparation may be used. It is very important for the patient to remain hydrated while the bowel is being flushed. Electrolytes are eliminated from the body during this preparation and should be replenished in order to avoid dehydration, which can cause serious injury for a patient.

Dehydration is a very serious condition. Minor symptoms include increased heart rate, increased respiration, muscle cramps, and headaches. If left untreated, these symptoms can escalate into chest and abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and seizures which may lead to death.

Summary of a Medication Error Claim

Patient was a man in his seventies who was sent by his primary care physician in Indianapolis, Indiana, to undergo a colonoscopy. When the patient scheduled his procedure, he was given instructions on how to prepare. The instructions stated for him to take “50” Dulcolax (laxative) tablets twenty-four hours before the procedure. This prescription was ten times the recommended dosage. The patient complied with the instructions and overdosed on laxatives, which sent him to the emergency room. Case settled.

Medication Error Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice, contact us today. Our experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorneys can provide you with a free initial consultation and can advise you of your legal rights and options. We litigate cases in Indianapolis and all across the state. Cohen & Malad, LLP has earned a well-respected reputation as a tough litigation firm in the courtroom and during negotiations and can bring Power to Your Voice.