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Misdiagnosing Appendicitis is a Type of Medical Malpractice that can Cause Complications

Appendicitis and its Symptoms

Appendicitis is a condition caused by an inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a 3.5 inch tube that is attached to the large intestine. It does not serve any critical function, and therefore must be surgically removed when it gets inflamed.

Some common symptoms of appendicitis are:

· Pain in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen (ERLQ)

· Nausea and vomiting

· Anorexia

· Flatulence

· Indigestion

· Generalized malaise

· Bowel irregularity

· Diarrhea

Diagnosing Appendicitis Correctly

A patient suspected to have appendicitis will be prescribed a Complete Blood Count (CBC). A high level of white blood cell count (leukocytosis) indicates the possibility of appendicitis.

The physician may also use the Alfredo scale, a technique used to check for appendicitis. A scale of 7 indicators are assigned points which are then evaluated to confirm or rule out appendicitis. The indicators are:



Migratory RLQ pain in abdomen






Tenderness in RLQ of abdomen


Rebound tenderness in RLQ of abdomen




Fever above 99.5° F



0 - 3 points

Low risk of appendicitis

4 - 6 points

Re-examination after observation; surgical intervention upon confirmation

7 - 9 points


Misdiagnosing Appendicitis

Diagnosing appendicitis can be difficult, as its symptoms are in common with other similar medical conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cyst, Crohn's disease, bacterial enteritis, endometriosis, and others. However, the right diagnostic tests and examinations must be conducted to confirm a case of appendicitis. A delay in removing an inflamed appendix can cause the organ to burst, leading to internal infections, and surgical complications.

When determining the diagnosis is not possible in the above methods, CT scans, radiographic imagery, or ultrasonography can be used to arrive at a conclusion. Technology allows physicians to conduct extensive examinations and evaluate the diagnosis with precision and relevance.

Another method that helps physicians in such cases is Differential Diagnosis. The doctor may make a list of conditions that have symptoms similar to those exhibited by the patient suspected to have appendicitis. He then conducts a series of tests and examinations to rule out each possibility to arrive at the actual diagnosis accurately.

Misdiagnosis of appendicitis in children may have lesser outward indicators. Some signs include bowel sounds, rectal findings, and E.N.T. findings. Misdiagnosis in non-pregnant women, or a delay in diagnosis with perforation, can elevate their maternal and fetal morbidity.

Legal Assistance for Misdiagnosis

When a physician fails to recognize a condition as appendicitis he may become legally liable to compensate for his negligence towards the health of the patient. If the patient can convince the jury that he has been subjected to an act of medical negligence that has caused him pain and inconvenience - physically, mentally, and financially, the healthcare provider can be made to compensate for the patient's suffering.

Get in touch with the New York City medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff for the best legal services you deserve. They don't get paid until you are paid. Call 212 697 9280 now. There will be a kind and patient person on the other side of this number.

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