Hirschsprung’s Disease is a birth defect which is present in the baby when born.
The disease affects a baby’s large intestine or colon and creates problem in passing stool. This is the result of the absence of some nerve cells from a part, or the whole of a baby’s colon.
A new born with this condition is usually not able to have a bowel movement in the first couple of days after birth. In extremely mild cases, the condition can remain undetected until much later in childhood. For treatment, the child must undergo surgery to remove or bypass the diseased area of the colon.
Even though almost 80% of cases are diagnosed within the first year, it is important to do a thorough checkup if a baby shows symptoms of a swollen belly, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and vomiting (especially if it’s a green or brown substance). These symptoms are easy to ignore and are usually taken very lightly by the physician and babies are prescribed corrective medications. But if the symptoms are not diagnosed and the condition is not taken care of, Hirschsprung’s Disease can lead to other fatal complications.
The complications of late diagnosis include a serious infection called enterocolitis. Enterocolitis is the result of stool collecting up at the back of the immobile part of the colon. This stagnant stool or mass provides an extremely fertile breeding ground and environment for harmful bacteria to grow. And as the stool mass expands, it begins to press up against blood vessels in the colon walls. When the blood vessels are pressured, there is a decrease in the blood flow which further leads to a breakdown in the lining of the colon, or the mucosa, which makes it open to infection. Enterocolitis is a life-threatening condition if not diagnosed in time and properly treated. This disease is treated by a colon cleaning and strong antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria.
Another risk factor when it comes to late diagnosis and ineffective treatment for the Hirschsprung’s Disease, is requiring more than one corrective surgery. Even though one surgery in most patients is found to be curative, if the process or surgery is delayed, the child can end up getting another surgery which will require a longer stay, more pain and trauma, and an increase in the medical bill.
And as the victim’s parent or guardian you should not suffer because of the negligence of a doctor who failed to diagnose and interpret the symptoms accurately. Most people can hardly afford a single surgery. If you think your child underwent any of the above mentioned scenarios because of pure negligence by the doctor, a professional lawyer experienced in this field should be contacted. One of the best in his field is Dr. Michael Gleeson. Both a doctor and a lawyer, he helps to get patients and their families the right compensation and justice for their sufferings, whether physical, mental or monetary, on the basis of improper treatment and negligence.