Out of the more than 100 million emergency room visits in the United States each year, more than 6% involve individuals complaining about severe abdominal pain, making this one of the most common problems in ERs across the nation. While appendicitis can be a cause of such pain, only about 1%-3% of ER patients who complain about abdominal pain will actually have acute appendicitis. Since there are so many other possible medical conditions that can cause abdominal pain and since the frequency of appendicitis is relatively low, emergency room doctors often misdiagnose appendicitis for less serious conditions. But the misdiagnosis of appendicitis can have tragic consequences. If an immediate appendectomy is not performed, the appendix can burst, causing infection, surgical complications, and even death.
The appendicitis misdiagnosis attorneys at LawMD have seen firsthand the devastation caused by such mistakes. Our firm helps individuals and families obtain compensation for injuries caused by the failure to properly identify and treat this serious and potentially deadly medical condition.
For a free consultation with an appendicitis misdiagnosis attorney in Washington, D.C., contact us online or by phone at (888) 695-2963.
What Is Appendicitis?
The appendix is a 3.5-inch long piece of tissue that extends from the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. One of the strangest things about the appendix is that medical science has not been able to figure out what the appendix does, if anything. You can live without your appendix with no negative health consequences, as have the millions upon millions of people who have had their appendix removed in a timely fashion.
But, while we can live without our appendix, we can’t live with an appendix that is about to burst. Appendicitis is a blockage in the lining of the appendix that results in infection. When the bacteria that cause the infection multiply rapidly, the appendix becomes inflamed, swollen, and filled with pus. If the appendix is not quickly removed in an appendectomy, it can burst, causing the infection to spread and become potentially fatal.
Common symptoms that may indicate appendicitis include:
- Sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen
- Sudden pain that begins around the navel and often shifts to the lower right abdomen
- Pain that worsens when coughing, walking, or making other jarring movements
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever that may worsen as the illness progresses
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Abdominal bloating
High Rates of Appendicitis Misdiagnosis
According to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the rate of misdiagnosis for appendicitis ranges from 20% to 40%. These extremely high misdiagnosis rates are due to a number of factors. Many of the symptoms listed above can be the result of other common gastrointestinal conditions. Misdiagnosis rates tend to be even higher for pregnant women, as many complications of pregnancy can also mimic appendicitis symptoms.
But just because some of the indicators of appendicitis are similar to other conditions doesn’t mean that a physician following proper testing and evaluation protocols shouldn’t be able to make the correct diagnosis.
When doctors or other emergency room personnel fail to conform to the proper standard of care in diagnosing and immediately treating appendicitis, and a patient suffers serious complications or dies as a result, it can constitute medical malpractice that may entitle the patient or their family to compensation. In fact, appendicitis misdiagnosis is one of the most common bases of medical malpractice lawsuits involving emergency room treatment.
Don’t Wait—Contact A Washington, D.C. Appendicitis Misdiagnosis Attorney Today
Medicine is complicated. So is the law. Not every bad outcome means there was medical malpractice. Determining whether an appendicitis misdiagnosis was the result of medical negligence that could be the basis of a medical malpractice claim requires an in-depth understanding of both medicine and the law.
At LawMD, many of our medical malpractice attorneys are also medical doctors who can, in many cases, quickly evaluate whether your doctors, nurses, or delivery room personnel were negligent, saving you the time and expenses normally associated with out-of-house expert review of your case. If we determine that a mistake has been made, we aggressively pursue compensation that can help pay for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of relationship, and funeral expenses.
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a suspected appendicitis misdiagnosis, LawMD’s medical malpractice lawyers stand ready to provide you and your family with experienced, aggressive, and personalized legal representation.
Please give us a call at (888) 695-2963 to set up your free consultation or contact us online. We look forward to assisting you.