Appendicitis is a type of digestive disorder that means inflammation of the appendix, a narrow, pouch-shaped organ that extends off the large intestine in the lower right portion of the belly. This organ has no known function within the body. It can easily become infected, though, if the opening to the appendix from the colon is blocked by fecal matter.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency because of the danger that the appendix might rupture, spilling bacteria into the abdominal cavity or the blood stream. Infection of either the abdominal cavity (peritonitis) or blood (septicemia) is potentially fatal.
Causes and Failure to Diagnose
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked, oftentimes by a foreign body, stool, cancer or an infection. If a physician fails to perform a proper physical examination, including manual manipulation of the abdomen, or impress upon a patient the importance of coming in immediately should symptoms continue or worsen, they could be liable for medical malpractice.
Appendicitis is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions because its symptoms can masquerade as many other types of problems. Some possible symptoms of appendicitis include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Abdominal swelling
- Fever of 99 F to 102 F
- Unable to pass gas
- Dull or sharp pain near upper/lower abdomen, back or rectum
- Loss of appetite
When presented with symptoms of likely appendicitis, the standard of care requires doctors to operate immediately.
Hiring a Lawyer
Patients or their families who have suffered from appendicitis as a result of negligence may be entitled to financial compensation to help recover any medical expenses as well as pain and suffering. Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your legal rights.