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What happens if a doctor misses an appendicitis diagnosis?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Medical Malpractice |

The appendix is a small, finger-shaped pouch projecting from the colon on the lower right side of the abdomen. Appendicitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. This inflammation is typically acute and can cause severe pain.

The exact cause of appendicitis is often unclear. The most common symptom is pain in the lower right abdomen, but appendicitis can also cause other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and an inability to pass gas.

Risk of a ruptured appendix

A significant risk associated with a missed diagnosis of appendicitis is a ruptured appendix, which can occur if the inflammation and infection worsen. When the appendix ruptures, it releases bacteria and other harmful substances into the abdominal cavity, which can lead to peritonitis. This condition requires immediate medical attention, often including surgery to remove the appendix and clean the abdominal cavity, along with antibiotics to treat the infection.

Potential for sepsis

Sepsis is another serious complication that can arise from untreated or misdiagnosed appendicitis. This condition occurs when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its tissues and organs. Symptoms of sepsis can include high fever, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing and confusion. Sepsis requires prompt medical treatment because it can quickly progress to septic shock. This is a dramatic drop in blood pressure that can lead to severe organ damage and death.

Long-term health implications

In addition to the immediate risks of a ruptured appendix and sepsis, a missed diagnosis of appendicitis can result in long-term health implications. Individuals who experience a ruptured appendix may have a prolonged recovery period, potential complications from surgery and an increased risk of developing an abscess or other infections. The psychological impact of a missed diagnosis, including loss of trust in medical professionals and increased anxiety about health, is also possible.

Victims of a missed diagnosis should ensure they fully understand their rights. Filing a medical malpractice claim is complex, so seeking legal guidance is important. This effort can better ensure that those who have suffered as a result of a missed diagnosis receive all that they are due.