You probably know someone who has had their appendix removed. It is one of the most common surgical procedures when someone has appendicitis — when their appendix has become inflamed.
Promptly identifying and treating appendicitis is vital. Otherwise, the appendix could burst and release harmful bacteria in to your abdomen, which could kill you. However, doctors sometimes misdiagnose it, causing unnecessary suffering to patients and their families. A recent study found the diagnosis was missed in 4.4% of children and 6% of adults who went to emergency facilities because they were suffering symptoms. Previous studies suggest the numbers may be higher.
What are some of the signs you might have appendicitis?
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain in the lower right side
Why do doctors fail to diagnose appendicitis?
The key symptom is lower right side abdominal pain. Yet if a patient does not mention that, or a doctor does not check for that, they could miss the chance to diagnoses appendicitis. The study found that in many misdiagnosed cases, the doctor discovered that the patient had constipation and ended their investigation there. They failed to consider there might be a root cause behind the constipation and other symptoms, such as appendicitis.
A doctor examining a patient with any of the above symptoms must be sure they can discount appendicitis. The consequences of missing it are severe. If a doctor missed the opportunity to diagnose appendicitis before it did damage to you or someone in your family, seek legal advice. You may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.