Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just beneath your liver. The gallbladder stores digestive fluid from the liver called bile that’s released into your small intestine to breakdown fats during the digestion process. Gallstones, hardened deposits of digestive fluid, can sometimes form in your gallbladder.
Gallstones can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. Some people develop just one gallstone, while others develop many gallstones at the same time. Gallstones often will cause no signs or symptoms. However, if a gallstone lodges in a duct and causes a blockage of bile, it could be painful and the resulting signs and symptoms may include:
Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen
Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone
Back pain between your shoulder blades
Pain in your right shoulder
Nausea or vomiting
Gallstone pain may last several minutes or a few hours. If the pain becomes too great, it is commonly treated with surgery by removing the gallbladder. Even without the gallbladder, the digestive system continues to function as the bile from the liver will continue to reach your small intestine, but just won’t be stored in the gallbladder.
Most gallbladder surgeries are now performed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy (“lap chole”) and are one of the most common surgical procedures performed. A laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis compared to the traditional open cholecystectomy requiring hospitalization. Despite the minimally invasive procedure, mistakes may still occur that harm a patient.
The most common complications related to medical malpractice include severing or cutting the bile ducts. Doctors are trained to visualize a patient’s anatomy during surgery, and only cut if they are sure of what they are cutting. A common error in these procedures is cutting the bile duct causing the toxic bile from the liver to empty into the abdomen instead of being stored into the small intestine. Bile in the abdomen can cause significant complications resulting in another surgery to repair the cut duct. If the duct is unable to be repaired, then permanent tubes need to be placed to drain bile into an external tube outside of the body. Other injuries that harm a patient are stomach or bowel perforation, and uncontrolled bleeding injuries.
The Thistle Law Firm is experienced in these claims and can help you understand your legal options and answer your questions at 215-568-6800.