When you claim compensation for a perforated bowel during surgery, can you include being embarrassed because you have to wear a colostomy bag?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Every aspect of a surgeon´s mistake and the consequences that it has on your quality of life should be included when you claim compensation for a perforated bowel during surgery.

Therefore, if you are feeling embarrassed because you have to wear a colostomy bag while waiting for the perforated bowel to heal, and you are conscious of how the bag looks under your clothes or its presence inhibits intimacy with your partner, you should bring this to the attention of your solicitor when discussing your claim for a bowel perforation during surgery.

Provided that the psychological distress you experience can be confirmed by a psychiatrist, your solicitor will include this factor when compiling the calculation of how much compensation for a cut bowel during surgery you are entitled to. Indeed, if you are feeling embarrassed about having to wear a colostomy bag now, it would be in your best interests to discuss how you feel with a psychiatrist in any event; in case the feelings of distress continue once the bag is removed.

Your claim for compensation for a cut bowel during surgery should also account for any leisure activities or social pursuits you cannot participate in – such as swimming or contact sports – and any depression you experience because of this impact on your quality of life. It is recommended that you maintain a diary to record all the occasions that the consequences of a perforated bowel prevent you from leading your regular life, as some of the issues you face now may be forgotten once the bowel has healed.

Fortunately the process for making a claim for a bowel perforation during surgery is relatively straightforward, as it is a medical error against which there is very little defence. Your solicitor will engage the services of a medical expert to confirm that the cut to your bowel was due to a poor professional performance and “in the circumstances and at the time” was a preventable mistake.

When liability is acknowledged by the Health Service Executive ( you claim compensation for a perforated bowel during surgery against the HSE rather than the individual surgeon) your claim will more than likely be settled out of court – meaning that your case will not have to be heard publicly – and hopefully you will be able to put this unfortunate experience behind you quickly and resume your pre-surgical life.

You are advised to speak with a solicitor about your compensation claim for a bowel perforation during surgery as soon as possible, so that he or she can start the process of claiming compensation for a cut bowel during surgery while the medical error that occurred is still a recent event.