Complications of a Small Bowel Injury

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June 07, 2019
Edward Smith

Small Bowel Injury

The small bowel plays a vital role in the body’s digestion process, and complications from intestinal injuries can be severe. The small bowel resides in the abdomen and helps to move food from the stomach to the large intestine. Some of the ways that the small bowel might be injured include:

  • Sustaining a penetrating injury from metal, glass, wood, or other debris in a motor vehicle accident
  • Blunt force trauma to the small bowel that might be suffered in a severe pedestrian injury
  • Injuries of the small bowel from a slip and fall injury

No matter what the mechanism might be, it is crucial for individuals to seek medical care following an injury to the abdomen. The complications that stem from an injury to the small bowel could be life-threatening.

Internal Bleeding After a Small Bowel Injury

Like other parts of the body, the small bowel receives its oxygen and nutrients from the body’s blood supply. This blood is supplied by a network of blood vessels. When someone suffers an injury to the small bowel, these blood vessels can be torn. Even though the surface of the skin might remain intact, these vessels can bleed. When this happens, this is termed internal bleeding. Some of the signs and symptoms of internal bleeding include:

  • Severe, rapidly progressive bruising of the abdomen
  • A feeling of fullness of the abdomen
  • Sweating, a rising heart rate, and rapid breathing
  • Pain that gets worse with movement

These are all signs that internal bleeding could be present in the abdomen. This bleeding could be diagnosed using an ultrasound; however, to pinpoint precisely where in the small bowel the bleeding is located, an MRI or a CT scan could be required. Internal bleeding is often treated using emergency surgery.

Sepsis Following an Injury of the Small Bowel

Another major complication of a small bowel injury is sepsis. Sepsis is the term given to an overwhelming infection. This infection is life-threatening. An injury that opens the small bowel releases fecal matter into the abdominal cavity. Because bacteria are contained in fecal matter, an overwhelming infection of the abdomen results. Some of the symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • A high fever
  • A rising heart rate
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • A falling blood pressure

If not treated quickly, sepsis could lead to death. Sepsis is treated with antibiotics and IV fluids. To reverse the small bowel injury, emergency surgery could be required.

Watch YouTube Video: Bacteria in the Small Bowel. In this video, two doctors from the University of Michigan Health System Office of Development discuss the issues of having bacteria in the small bowel.

Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer

Having a loved one suffer a severe injury, particularly one that requires emergency surgery, can be a stressful situation. Families often end up with more questions than answers. Under these circumstances, contacting a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento is an excellent place to start. Nobody should ever have to face this difficult challenge by themselves. Meet with a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. You and your family might be owed a significant monetary award.

Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. A penetrating injury of the small bowel can lead to internal bleeding, sepsis, and even death. If your family member has suffered damage to the intestines in an accident, please give me a call at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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Image Attribution: The picture at the beginning of this article was found first on Pixabay and has been shown here with permission.

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