Hirschsprung’s disease is a blockage of the large intestine due to improper muscle movement in the bowel. This disease is a congenital birth defect, which means it develops when the child is in the womb and is already present at birth. Under normal circumstances, muscle contractions in the gut, triggered by nerves in between the muscle layers, help digested materials move through the intestine. In children with Hirschsprung’s disease however, the nerves are missing from a part of the bowel, which prevents these areas from pushing material through, and causes a blockage. This blockage allows intestinal contents to build up behind it, which results in the bowel and abdomen becoming swollen. Hirschsprung’s disease causes about 25% of all newborn intestinal blockages, and is sometimes associated with other congenital conditions, including Down syndrome. If your child was born with Hirschsprung’s disease and you believe a medical error to be the cause, contact an experienced birth defect attorney for legal help.
Although the symptoms associated with Hirschsprung’s disease are serious, milder cases may not be diagnosed until a later age. Children born with Hirschsprung’s disease may exhibit symptoms like:
Children suffering from Hirschsprung’s disease require surgery to repair the malformation and remove the abnormal section of the bowel. In most cases, the rectum and abnormal part of the colon are removed, and the healthy part of the colon is then pulled down and attached to the anus. These procedures are typically performed in two different steps. Before surgery, a procedure called serial rectal irrigation can help relieve pressure in the bowel. After surgery, most affected children’s symptoms improve or go away completely, although some children may still suffer from constipation or problems controlling stools. Children who receive prompt treatment or who have a shorter segment of affected bowel typically have a better outcome. Hirschsprung’s disease complications may include inflammation and infection of the intestines; perforation or rupture of the intestine; and short bowel syndrome, which can lead to malnourishment and dehydration.
Hirschsprung’s disease is a serious condition which can cause significant bowel problems for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from Hirschsprung’s disease, and you believe a medical mistake to be the cause, contact an experienced birth defect attorney to discuss the benefits of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the allegedly negligent doctor, hospital or Ob/Gyn. You are not at fault for any injuries your child sustained at the hands of a potentially negligent or poorly trained medical representative, and you may be entitled to financial compensation for your child’s injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. With the help of a skilled birth defect lawyer, you can protect the rights of your child and collect the financial compensation you need to ensure your child receives proper medical care now and in the future.