Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of sudden pain in the abdomen. In the United States 250,000 cases a year are reported. The goal of a physician is to make a diagnosis as soon as possible, otherwise chances of complications with an appendectomy, removal of the appendix, increase. Along with it costs associated with being in hospitals go up as well as pain and discomfort. The worst case scenario is infection leading to shock and death. Doctors have an obligation to thoroughly examine patients to avoid misdiagnosing appendicitis or they can face medical malpractice lawsuits.
Because of its symptoms, appendicitis can be mistaken for a number of other issues in the abdominal area. Some include:
- Urinary track infections
- Ovarian and other gynecological complications
- Crohn’s Disease
Women are greatly misdiagnosed more than men because their anatomy in the abdominal region is more intricate. Children are often dismissed as being constipated or diagnosed improperly because of their inability to explain their symptoms as well as an adult.
Elderly patients are also at high risk for misdiagnosis because they may not feel the same level of pain as younger patients and can have other failing organs due to their age that are focused on.
Doctors are responsible for taking all patients care of the same and listening carefully to their symptoms. Often inadequate history taking is the cause of a misdiagnosis and physicians are too busy to spend enough time with their patients. Doctors are also required to perform correctly a series of tests which can include:
- Abdominal exam
- Rectal Exam
- Blood test
- Urine test
- Ultrasound or CT scan
If any health care providers fail to follow the necessary steps and overlook important patient symptoms the result can be an appendicitis misdiagnosis. This can lead to serious injury, excessive costs, or death. A New York medical malpractice attorney can be of assistance if you or a loved one has been affected by such circumstances.