General Question

snowberry's avatar

I just had a colonoscopy. Now I have what looks like rope burns on my belly near my groin. What happened?

Asked by snowberry (24785points) May 8th, 2013

I texted my doctor (he gave me his cell number) with the news. I have photos, but my cell won’t send the images. Anyway, of course he’s not responding. This is not an emergency, but the wounds are oozy, and I can find no reference to this sort of thing associated with a colonoscopy.

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51 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

On your skin, rather than inside your intestines? Very odd and very alarming. I have had two colonoscopies and found the procedure itself painful in spite of the sedation, and was very, very awake. I cannot imagine how you could have ended up with seeping wounds. Call the office tomorrow asap and complain loudly.

Clean the area and put some triple antibiotic cream on the wounds.

snowberry's avatar

As I mentioned, they are on my belly near my groin. They are two inches long, on both sides.

bkcunningham's avatar

Do you have a fever?

Mariah's avatar

Allergic reaction to the sticky pads from the monitoring sensors maybe?

gailcalled's avatar

Were you awake and aware, as I was, during the procedure? There was nothing, in my experience, that would have produced those abrasions.

snowberry's avatar

These look like rope burns (or burns from tubing being pulled from underneath me). There are also some tiny chunks of skin missing. Does not look like tape was there either.

No. No fever. what would that have to do with it?

I was “conscious sedated” but remember nothing.

gailcalled's avatar

Fever implies infection. Call the office as soon as it opens.

All the tubing that I recall was shoved up inside of me rather than under my body.

bkcunningham's avatar

A fever would indicate some type of infection.

bkcunningham's avatar

I can’t find anything in relation to the procedure you had. I was making sure you didn’t have an infection from something torn inside during the procedure.

Maybe it is from how you were positioned? I don’t know. It is disturbing and puzzling. I know you’ll see your doctor ASAP though. The oozing sounds like infection. Does it appear to be infection. What do you think?

When did you have the procedure and when did you notice the marks?

snowberry's avatar

I JUST got home from the hospital. I did not have any wounds there before and now I do. It happened DURING the procedure.

Mariah's avatar

Something being pulled under you is a possibility but weren’t you lying on your side? That’s how I’ve always been for colonoscopies, anyway. And you say the marks were on both sides.

bkcunningham's avatar

Are you in any kind pain, @snowberry?

snowberry's avatar

No. No pain.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Is there anyone on call from his office? Perhaps you could try calling them to find out what’s going on. I get that you don’t feel it’s an emergency, but open wounds that you do not know the origin of are something to be concerned about. If you don’t call tonight, I’d definitely call in the morning.

snowberry's avatar

I already told the doctor. No response. Yes I will call his office tomorrow.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Is the doctor you texted the one that is on call tonight? If he’s on call, he should be responding, whether he thinks it’s an emergency or not. If he’s not on call, that could be why he isn’t responding tonight.

snowberry's avatar

He is the one who did it.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Being the one who did it doesn’t mean he is on call for his office this evening. That’s why I was asking specifically about getting in touch with the doctor on call. Most office’s have an answering service that will get in touch with the doctor on call after hours for such situations.

snowberry's avatar

I texted him on his cell phone. Most people don’t turn off their cell phones. This doc says he “treats his patients like family,” and he has always responded before

Pachy's avatar

I’ve never experienced anything like that. I’m glad you contacted your doctor.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

The oozy stuff, does it smell really bad? If so, you have have developed a fungal infestation (yeast infection) due to contact with improperly sterilized medical equipment or poor personal hygiene of one the the technicians. Take a sample of the oozy stuff and have it examined by a nurse or doctor you you personally. If they confirm my guess, have a sample tested in a proper lab and contact your attorney to initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit. The hospital or clinic that did the colonoscopy will probably be glad to settle for an attractive sum of money. Once you have all the evidence you need, treating the fungal infection is pretty easy to do. Even no name anti-fungal creams from WAL*MART will do the trick.

Rarebear's avatar

Sounds like an allergic reaction to something. I’ve done over a thousand colonoscopies and I’ve never heard of anything like this. Posting a picture would help.

snowberry's avatar

It’s NOT infected! Never was. It does not smell.

I’m thinking perhaps it was my gown that got tangled between my legs and perhaps they tried to pull it out of there without separating my legs.

I might be able to post a picture tomorrow if I can get the know how to do so. And by that time I’ll have talked to my doctor or staff or someone. I’ll keep you updated.

snowberry's avatar

I do have a high threshold of pain, and in some places on my body I’m less sensitive than you would expect (my body is wired differently than most people). I’m surprised it doesn’t hurt because it’s in an area that you would expect to be very sensitive. But again, my body is weird.

JLeslie's avatar

Odd. It does sound like an allergic reaction, the gown being pulled also sounds like a reasonable guess. Is it much better today? I would wash the area with a mild soap and put a little neosporin or similar where the nicks are to help it heal without scarring, unless they are so small you are not even worried about that.

Must be very frustrating to not know what happened.

@gailcalled Do you want to be awake and feel what is going on? What I found out is a anesthesiologist has to be present (might vary by state) to give what I consider to be the good stuff, Diprivan, otherwise they give the other sedation where the patient is more likely to be aware and feel pain. There might be a medical reason or personal preference why you don’t get the other drug, I just wanted to let you know, because when I had my eggs extracted for IVF they did not give me the choice and I will be pissed off forever about it. Long story. Later at a colonscopy the anesthesiologist told me the probable reason for why they used the other drugs.

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snowberry's avatar

This was NOT an allergic reaction. Skin was removed. I got a good look at it in excellent light.

JLeslie's avatar

Are you going to bother to go to the doctor to let him look at it? I know for me I might not have the psychological fortitude to do it.

snowberry's avatar

I’ll make sure it is documented. After all I’ve been through with doctors, documenting it will be a cake walk compared to all the trauma I’ve already experienced at the hands of medical personnel and what happened yesterday. I will think long and hard before I do anything like this again.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if the machine/tube somehow was in that spot and then when they moved it, it rubbed hard enough that it tore some skin? I don’t see why it would be there, except maybe if they were not paying attention well at first?

snowberry's avatar

I just talked to my doc. He said there was nothing there to cause a problem like this, thought it was an allergic reaction, bla bla bla. I explained that no, it wasn’t an allergy; that skin was actually removed. I mentioned the possibility of the gown being pulled. He said he’d talk to the nurses and investigate. I told him I have photos, but my phone won’t send them. We have agreed that I’ll show them to him at the followup appointment, because I live far from his office.

I might be able to take new pictures and send them via hubby’s phone.

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gailcalled's avatar

Do these abrasions seem to healing? Are they looking better today?

snowberry's avatar

They’ll heal. They’re right in the crease between my leg and my belly, close to the groin. They remain kind of sticky because they never dry out, and it’s impossible to put any kind of bandage on them without causing extreme discomfort. There is no infection, and no pain. My doc is fine with how I’m treating it.

gailcalled's avatar

edit; ”...seem to be healing…”

snowberry's avatar

Update. The wounds have scabbed over, and the scabs are mostly gone now. What is left is a darkened area where they were.

I saw the doctor who performed the colonoscopy today, and I showed him the pictures and the scars. He told me that he called the hospital the next day, and confronted them, but everyone denied that they did anything to cause such a thing. We both know they lied.

Since it’s pointless for me to try to call that department, I have a call in to a social worker in the hopes that I can help these people to prevent this from happening again. A worst case scenario would be if it happened to someone with very thin skin. It would rip them wide open!

It’s sad but true that nobody is willing to even consider telling the truth about this because of fear of a lawsuit. However, I have no intention to file one. I was not permanently injured, just a little inconvenienced, and definitely troubled by coming home with wounds on my abdomen, and no explanation as to how they got there.

I am also considering a call to my insurance company, which I will do if I get nowhere with the hospital, but I would rather not.

Cupcake's avatar

@snowberry I would recommend you write a letter to the hospital administration. They will follow-up.

I’m assuming this was done in an outpatient surgical center? You can write to the nurse manager and medical director of the outpatient surgical center as well.

If you would like me to look into who to contact, feel free to PM me.

The social worker is “paid from a different pot”. While that person may pass your information on… it is hospital administration as well as administration for the center you attended who will be the most useful people to contact.

Since patient satisfaction is so important in healthcare right now (our pay will soon be linked to satisfaction), I assure you they will follow-up.

JLeslie's avatar

Once in my life a hospital supervisor admitted her staff had treated me horribly and apologized and thanked me for having brought it to her attention. Every other time I have complained for something of that sort I have gone through psychological trauma dealing with talking to writing to medical personnel. I am not sure it is worth it.

The hope I have is behind the scenes the truth might be found out, but not told to you because of lawsuit fears. But, my experience working in a hospital (it was behavioral health) is staff tends to be afraid of being unished for wrong doing and best practices are not easily sought.

bkcunningham's avatar

What do you and/or your doctor think caused the wounds, @snowberry?

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie “The hope I have is behind the scenes the truth might be found out, but not told to you because of lawsuit fears. But, my experience working in a hospital (it was behavioral health) is staff tends to be afraid of being punished for wrong doing and best practices are not easily sought.” Yep, that is my concern as well. I really want to help these people. Who knows when I’ll end up back in there?

If this had happened to a child or frail elderly with thin skin, they’d have been ripped wide open.

My husband is begging me to just let the whole thing die. He says I’ll “just make trouble”. Trouble for whom? For them or for me? If for me, what would they do? Refuse me treatment because I brought an issue they caused to their attention? I don’t even want to sue them!

@bkcunningham My doctor agrees with me. The only thing that could have caused my wounds would have been the gown. And I remember just before they knocked me out I had my gown between my legs. I hate the feeling of sweaty skin on skin.

JLeslie's avatar

I completely understand your point of view. The problem is most people and the system doesn’t. It causes me tremendous anxiety and anger. Not to mention sadness. The last time something significant happened to me, months later I was out in a restaurant eating dinner with my husband one night, I was getting to the point of giving up with a situation with a hospital, and he wanted me to stop feeling badly about something similar that happened to me. I started crying, tears rolling down my face and I said, “you just have to give me some time because I have a hard time accepting people are like this. I don’t want the world to be like that.” More than the physical pain I went through, or the long term negative affects of an unnecessary procedure they put me through was coping that people can do these things and not care, and not want to make it better for the next person.

snowberry's avatar

OK, well the social workers aren’t calling me back, so I will write up a letter and send it to the administration. It will make me feel better anyway. I’ll probably also send the same message to the insurance company, just for kicks.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I am a little late, but I am just wondering how things are going? Hospitals will usually fight tooth and nail when it comes to negligence. It happened to my husband before he passed away. I pray you get the answers you are looking for. :) And I am glad you were not seriously hurt.

snowberry's avatar

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve gotten so busy I haven’t had a chance to think about it. But I can still write the letter, and it’s well documented. These people are so afraid of being sued they can’t even act like decent human beings. I’ve seen it before, over and over and over.

I hate hospitals. And my daughter is an RN. LOL you can bet we have a lot of lively conversations.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I understand. I don’t much like hospitals either. Neither did my husband and he was a paramedic. o_O

Don’t be ashamed. Sometimes life gets in the way, it’s only be a few weeks? Even if it’s a few months. Even if you end up doing nothing, really it is you who has to live with that decision right? I was just curious is all. :) And just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you.

snowberry's avatar

Here is the body of the letter I’m sending to both the hospital administration and to the insurance company.

On May 8, 2013 I went to your facility to have a colonoscopy. I came home with two, two inch wounds on my abdomen in the creases between my legs and my abdomen. I took photos of the wounds which looked like rope burns, and documented it with my doctor, Dr ____ (his address), both by phone and then later in his office during the follow up appointment.They were not bloody, they were not infected, and they were not an allergic reaction. The top layer of skin was removed, and they just oozed a clear liquid until they scabbed over.

Dr.____ said he called your facility to speak to someone about it, but your people denied anything could have possibly happened. We know something did.

Here is what we think happened. While I was waiting for the procedure, I remember stuffing my gown between my legs because I hate the feeling of sweaty skin on skin. The colonoscopy was done at a place where endoscopies are normally done. I am wondering if it is possible that the tech was either not familiar, maybe not aware, or forgot that when you pull a gown out from between an unconscious person’s legs that you need to spread their legs apart first. Otherwise the patient could get the equivalent of burns such as I received.

At this point the wounds have healed, and with no lasting scars. My concern at this point is to say that if this had happened to a very frail person with thin skin or possibly a child, they would have been ripped wide open, and a real and unnecessary tragedy would have occurred.

I never had any intention of filing a lawsuit, but I found this experience to be very troubling. Nobody at the hospital returned my call, and I would like to know that this situation has been properly addressed. That is why I am sending this same letter to my insurance company, because at least it’s been documented with someone besides my doctor, and maybe they will follow through with you as well.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know if you want feedback? Here is my impression, just suggestions, you obviously don’t need to heed any of them.

You might not one to use we, but rather stick to I.

Also, I don’t think I would mention he words law suit, but I would as you did emhasize that your goal all along jas been to provide usefeul feedback to the hospital to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

I personally don’t even think it matters if the person is young and slightly harmed or frail, either way they need to do the right thing and learn from this.

I’ll be interested to know if they finally call you back and address the matter with some professionalism. Hospitals and doctors all too often seem to have no idea how important it is to patients to be taken seriously and that we really really care what happens to the next person.

snowberry's avatar

Hmmm, my doctor agrees with me on this, but I made the appropriate changes to the letter, and a copy is going to the insurance company as well. Good point about not mentioning a lawsuit.

Cupcake's avatar

I’m glad you’re following up on it. I hope you get some validation and that they are more careful with their patient care practices.

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