Failure to Diagnose Appendicitis is Medical Negligence

One in fifteen people in the United States develop appendicitis at some point in their lifetime. Yet, it is one of the single most frequently misdiagnosed conditions in emergency rooms. Nearly 1/3 of the patients appearing in an emergency room with appendicitis have already been seen by a doctor and misdiagnosed once before.

Worried Doctor With Hand On His HeadSymptoms of Acute Appendicitis

A textbook case of appendicitis includes high fever and severe pain in the lower right abdomen with more dull pain near the naval or front, upper abdomen. Many people experience nausea and vomiting soon after the onset of pain. However, a large number of people suffering from appendicitis don’t have the classic symptoms. Appendicitis must be considered in every doctor’s differential diagnosis whenever a patient complains of continuous abdominal pain and tenderness.

Avoiding a Common Misdiagnosis

Appendicitis is most often misdiagnosed as gastroenteritis because the conditions present with similar symptoms. It is also commonly misdiagnosed as urinary tract infection (UTI), Chron’s disease and other gastric disorders. CT scans, blood tests and rectal examinations can be used to determine whether the pain and tenderness is a result of an inflamed appendix, a diverticulitis flare up or some other innocuous condition.

Additionally, obtaining a thorough medical history can help rule out other causes of pain.

Treating Appendicitis

Appendicitis typically requires surgery to remove the infected appendix and a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. Because the organ is not needed for survival, it is

If the appendix bursts it can allow chemicals from the appendix to spill into the abdomen, damaging other nearby organs. In minor cases, the resulting infection can be treated with antibiotics, but in others extensive surgery may be needed.

When a doctor misses a diagnosis of acute appendicitis, there is an increased likelihood of perforation and peritonitis (tearing and swelling of the wall that covers the abdominal organs), which can cause death, adhesions that lead to recurrent bowel obstruction, or loss of fertility in women. Appendicitis is not to be taken lightly.

If you or a member of your family has suffered from a perforated or burst appendix because of an untimely diagnosis of acute appendicitis, you may have a claim for medical malpractice, and should consider consulting an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. In Florida, the law limits the time you have to file a claim for medical malpractice, so it is important to seek counsel as soon as you are ready. Your attorney will conduct a complete review of the medical records to determine if you have a viable claim for monetary compensation.

If suspect you have been harmed by a preventable medical error or misdiagnosis, you probably have many questions. Our medical malpractice team is available to answer those questions for you. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.815.6398 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.  Even if we are unable to take on your case, we always do our best to suggest other attorneys who can assist you.

It's important to keep in mind, in order to have a solid medical malpractice claim your doctor or surgeon must have been negligent in performing their services or diagnosis. Not every case will qualify as medical malpractice.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.