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.
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.
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.