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What is a perforated esophagus?

Many Pittsburgh residents will undergo a surgical procedure this year. These procedures can be done in an emergency situation or they may be routine. Most surgical procedures occur without any issues, but occasionally a surgical accident can occur that causes a worsened condition.

One such condition that may arise during surgery is a perforated esophagus. This condition is when the esophagus gets a hole in it. Many times the esophagus is perforated during a medical procedure. When the esophagus is perforated, the contents of the esophagus collect in the chest area. This can result in a serious infection of the mediastinum. Usually surgery is needed to repair the hole and the surgery may need to be done within the first 24 hours. If a patient does not receive surgery or other treatment immediately, they could die.

While the use of flexible probing tools during surgery has helped to reduce the number of related injuries (other, non-surgery related causes include ulceration, tumors, violent vomiting and more), there is still the risk of errors being made, leading to complication and injury.

If a person believes that a medical provider’s improper technique caused their perforated esophagus they may want to discuss their concerns with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the medical records, consult with experts, and determine what caused the worsened condition. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: Medline Plus, “Esophageal perforation,” accessed on Feb. 10, 2015