Delayed Diagnosis Of Appendicitis

Delayed Diagnosis Of Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a common condition that can be easily treated via surgical removal of the appendix. Even so, it is vital that such treatment is considered an emergency. If it is withheld for any reason, the inflammation will get progressively worse until the appendix actually bursts, spreading infection throughout the peritoneal cavity. This is a serious complication that will significantly augment a patient's pain and suffering, and could even put their life at risk.

Diagnosing Appendicitis

Although the causes of appendicitis are not entirely clear, it is known that the condition involves a painful swelling of the appendix, a small pouch attached to the large intestine. Initially this will lead to a painful sensation in the middle of the abdomen.

Gradually this will move toward the lower right hand side of the tummy, and will also become increasingly severe. Other symptoms will include vomiting, diarrhoea and a high temperature.

Anyone who presents to their GP or Accident and Emergency department with these symptoms should arouse the suspicion of appendicitis.

With this temporary diagnosis in mind, doctors should perform a physical examination to assess whether or not the abdomen feels tender, and whether or not pain increases when pressure is applied to the appendix. Other tests such as an MRI scan, blood tests and urine tests may be used to rule out other illnesses (such as a bladder infection), thereby helping to confirm a diagnosis.

As soon as appendicitis is diagnosed, emergency surgery should be arranged in order to remove the appendix.

Claiming For A Delayed Appendicitis Diagnosis

However, not all cases of appendicitis are diagnosed in the early stages of the condition. Although this can be because a patient has failed to seek medical assistance, it is usually because doctors have actually failed to make an accurate diagnosis. Indeed, appendicitis does have similar symptoms to other, more minor illness such as a urinary tract infection. That is why it is so important for medical professionals to carry out the necessary tests and examinations, as this will ensure a misdiagnosis is not made. If, however, they fail to do so and a patient with appendicitis is discharged without having had the correct treatment, the standard of care will have fallen to an unacceptable level. As a result of this negligence a patient will endure additional pain and suffering, while it is possible that the swollen appendix will rupture, causing a serious infection called peritonitis.

If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may well have been the victim of medical negligence. This is because medical professionals should be able to recognise the typical symptoms and use certain tests to make a correct diagnosis. A delay will therefore amount to a substandard level of care. Anyone injured as a result of this incompetence will be entitled to claim compensation for the damages sustained.

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