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Ruptured Appendix And Medical Negligence

The appendix is a small pouch attached to the large intestine. Its purpose remains unclear, as doctors are unable to establish a function. Even so, we do know that if the appendix becomes swollen, it must be removed immediately otherwise it will rupture and lead to serious health complications.

How does an appendix rupture?

When there is a swelling of the appendix, a patient is said to have appendicitis. It is not known what causes the condition; some doctors believe it can be attributed to a piece of faeces that has become stuck in the appendix, while others suggest it may be from a stomach infection.

Whatever the cause, appendicitis is typically associated with a pain in lower right hand side of the abdomen, along with other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, constipation and a loss of appetite. These symptoms may initially be mistaken for another illness for example, bladder and urine infections, Crohn's disease, gastritis and ovarian problems.

But as the appendix continues to swell, a patient's condition will soon deteriorate until the pain in the stomach becomes constant. This should lead doctors towards an accurate diagnosis. If there is any uncertainty, tests (such as an ultrasound scan) should be carried out to confirm their suspicions. If a positive diagnosis is made, emergency surgery must be performed to remove the appendix.

However, if treatment is withheld, the appendix will swell until it eventually bursts. This is known as a perforated or ruptured appendix. This is a potentially life-threatening condition, as the pus will spread to the abdominal cavity causing peritonitis an infection of the abdominal lining. This can result in long-term complications or can even be fatal.

Does a ruptured appendix amount to medical negligence?

If someone is suffering from the characteristic symptoms of appendicitis, he or she must seek urgent medical attention. Healthcare professionals should then take steps to establish the underlying cause, remaining alert to the fact that appendicitis is a possibility. After the necessary tests have been performed, doctors will be able to make a firm diagnosis, either confirming or ruling out appendicitis.

However, if the typical symptoms are not recognised or the appropriate tests are not arranged, there will be a delay in diagnosis and treatment. If this delay contributes towards a ruptured appendix, then it may amount to medical negligence. This is because the standard of care will have fallen to an unacceptable level, in turn causing a patient to suffer a ruptured appendix.

Who should I contact about medical negligence?

If you or your loved one has sustained a ruptured appendix for which you believe healthcare professionals are to blame, you need to contact a medical negligence solicitor today.

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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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