colonoscopy is a routine medical procedure that physicians recommend to patients usually over age 50. Screening colonoscopies usually take less than an hour and allow doctors to detect small growths and remove them before they grow into cancer.
But about two serious complications occur for every 1,000 screening colonoscopies performed. Sadly, one local man died 16 days after undergoing a colonoscopy, according to court documents.
Melvin Snow, Platte City, died on Oct. 21, 2016 at the age of 55.
His son, Troy Snow, has filed a wrongful death suit against Dr. Michael Hagan, Dr. Gregory Barber and Consultants in Gastroenterology, operating out of Liberty.
According to court documents, Melvin Snow underwent a screening colonoscopy on Oct. 5, 2016. Following the procedure, Snow complained of a “decreased appetite, abdominal pain and nausea.”
His condition allegedly worsened over the next few days, prompting Troy and his family to contact the medical office about his symptoms. After Snow notified the office that he was “vomiting and doubling over in pain,” he was allegedly told his symptoms were caused by air pumped in to inflate the colon during the screening procedure, states court documents. He was advised to “use a heating pad and put his knees up toward his chest while lying down to relieve the gas,” the suit says.
On Oct. 15, the suit says, Snow placed a second call to inform the staff that his symptoms had not been resolved. Snow received a return call from Dr. Gregory Barber, who recommended Snow “take GasX and eat a bland diet for a couple of days and he would be fine,” states the suit.
That was not the case. Snow, the suit says, contacted the medical office for the third time on Oct. 18, complaining of pain and nausea. This time, he was scheduled and seen by a doctor, who informed him he needed to go to the hospital to undergo additional testing.
According to court documents, Snow underwent a CT scan at Mosaic Health Center in St. Joseph, which indicated he suffered a bowel perforation, a small hole in the colon.
“An exploratory laparotomy, sigmoid resection and colostomy placement was performed,” on Snow, but he allegedly suffered a “cerebral vascular accident (CVA) and developed septic shock.”
Snow was temporarily placed on life-support but suffered an untimely death on Oct. 21, 2016.
The lawsuit alleges Consultants in Gastroenterology negligently failed to address Snow’s condition and failed to document his calls regarding his worsening condition, causing Snow’s abdomen to fill with feces, sustain pain, develop septic and suffer a CVA.
Troy Snow is seeking compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial costs.