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Possible medical errors during gallbladder surgery

The purpose of the gallbladder is to store bile, but some people experience complications with the organ that necessitate its removal. Doctors can perform gallbladder surgery to reduce the risk of the patient developing pancreatitis, cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis and biliary dyskinesia. 

Most patients recognize they are candidates for gallbladder surgery when they experience bloating, nausea, fever or sharp pain in the abdomen. Most gallbladder surgeries go perfectly, and the patient is able to enjoy a much more comfortable quality of life. Complications are rare but can occur. Occasionally, these complications are a result of medical malpractice. It is important for patients about to undergo surgery to know the risks even if a skilled, experienced doctor will perform the procedure. 

Damage to the bile duct

The gallbladder can contain highly toxic bile that is dangerous without proper removal. During the course of the surgery, a doctor can accidentally perforate the duct, causing bile to leak into the patient's abdomen. This bile can leak onto and into the small intestines and liver. The patient may then require further hospitalization. In the event doctors cannot contain the damage, then the patient may require the implementation of permanent tubes to drain the bile into an exterior bag. 

Cutting adjacent organs

A careless error could result in the doctor accidentally cutting an adjacent organ, such as an intestine. If this does not receive immediate treatment, then the patient may develop an infection, also known as sepsis. Sepsis can result in abdominal pain, problems breathing, decrease in overall platelet count and decreased urine output. 

Failure to remove the entire gallbladder

Following surgery, some patients may still experience recurring gallstones. This occurs when the doctor failed to remove the whole gallbladder. Part of the organ may still be inside the patient. Even if the surgery is essential for the patient's health, it is still critical for the patient and family members to ask as many questions as needed to feel confident in the procedure. 

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