Appendicitis is a difficult diagnosis, but when a physician does not diagnose properly, it could have dire consequences for the patient – in some cases, it might be fatal. A misdiagnosis of appendicitis is a common reason for malpractice claims against emergency room doctors. However, not all of these instances are examples of negligence.
A large majority of the patients whom an ER doctor sees are complaining about abdominal pain. While appendicitis tends to appear on one side of the body, some have several pain spots. Only a small number of people seen in the ER who are complaining of abdominal pain actually have appendicitis. However, a quick diagnosis for this condition is critical, because if it is not treated appropriately, it could burst and lead to severe complications.
Appendicitis, according to HealthLine, occurs in people ages 10 to 30. It’s a condition in which the appendix becomes swollen and pus-filled. The symptoms can include pain around the middle of the stomach, appetite loss, vomiting and nausea, swelling of the stomach, and a low-grade fever.
Appendicitis is also the most common cause for emergency surgery in the United States, and about five percent of Americans will have it.
If appendicitis is not treated quickly, it can rupture and leak feces into the stomach. This can lead to severe infection, including sepsis.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the body’s appendix. There is no critical need for the appendix; therefore, if it is inflamed, surgeons prefer to remove it. Some patients will show abnormal symptoms for appendicitis, including indigestion, gas, bowel problems, diarrhea, and exhaustion.
If emergency room physicians suspects appendicitis, they will first run a Complete Blood Count (CBC). Usually a patient with appendicitis has an elevated white blood cell count.
The physician should also review the patient’s medical history. Some rely on the Alvarado scale, which assigns points for symptoms. The higher the score count, the more likely the patient has appendicitis. The lower it is, the less likely. If the scoring and blood tests point toward inflammation, the physician may order a CT or ultrasound to examine the appendix and determine if it is the problem.
There are syndromes that mimic symptoms of appendicitis. Some common diseases diagnosed in place of appendicitis include:
A misdiagnosis is not always malpractice. If a physician fails to diagnose, but performed all necessary tests, he or she may not have deviated from the standard of care.
To prove that a physician was negligent, the plaintiff must show that the physician failed to perform the standard duty of care required. This is done by comparing his or her actions to how another physician would have acted in the same diagnostic situation. If the doctor did not follow the accepted practice, and the patient suffered as a result, he or she may be considered negligent.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury because of a misdiagnosis, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Connecticut. An attorney can review your medical records, examine the evidence, and determine if negligence played a role in the medical misdiagnosis.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation.