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Delayed Diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis

Acute appendicitis is a medical emergency, meaning it must be diagnosed and treated without delay. Therefore if medical professionals do not detect the condition in a timely fashion, a patient will run into serious difficulties.

What is acute appendicitis?

Acute appendicitis is when the appendix a small pouch connected to the large intestine becomes inflamed. The causes of appendicitis are not always clear. It can occur if a stomach infection spreads to the appendix, or if a piece of faeces gets stuck inside the appendix, trapping the bacteria and leaving them to multiply.

When the appendix does become inflamed, the affected individual will develop a pain in the middle of their abdomen which will gradually spread to the lower right hand side of their tummy. As the infection takes hold, other symptoms will also materialise, including vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and loss of appetite.

Why is diagnosing appendicitis difficult?

A patient with these symptoms should seek immediate medical assistance, either from their GP or in Accident and Emergency.

However, the problem with diagnosing appendicitis is that the symptoms are very similar to a range of other conditions. But that is not a valid excuse for a delayed diagnosis, as medical professionals should use a patient's symptoms to make a list of potential diagnoses including that of acute appendicitis. Steps should then be taken to work out which of these suspected diagnoses is correct.

Because there is a chance that a patient could have acute appendicitis, no time should be wasted in performing the necessary diagnostic tests. To begin with this should include a urine test and a blood test. If the results show a patient is suffering an infection for example, because the C-Reactive Protein in their blood result is very high this should be a strong indication that a patient has appendicitis. Depending upon how unwell the patient is at this stage, medical professionals may choose to proceed straight to emergency surgery, or to perform a CT scan to ensure the diagnosis of appendicitis is correct.

Claiming for a delayed diagnosis of appendicitis

Therefore just because the symptoms of appendicitis are very similar to other more minor conditions such as a urinary tract infection, that is not to say that medical professionals cannot take steps to make an accurate diagnosis in timely fashion.

If you have been subject to a delay diagnosis of appendicitis, we understand how frightening the experience can be. You will have become extremely unwell and increasingly frustrated that doctors could not detect your illness. This may have caused you become dangerously ill, prolonging your recovery and augmenting your pain and suffering.

If this has happened to you, you could be in position to claim against the GP or hospital in question, as you will have been the innocent victim of medical negligence.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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