Minnesota Appendicitis Misdiagnosis Lawyers: Medical Malpractice Attorneys

What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, a pocket of tissue that extends from the large intestines on the lower right side of the torso.  The appendix is a vestigial organ, meaning it doesn’t have an obvious purpose in modern humans but used to be a functioning part of our very early ancestors’ digestive system.  Therefore, the appendix doesn’t provide much benefit, if any, to modern humans, and it can be removed without permanently affecting digestion.

 

Appendicitis, which usually happens in people between the ages of 10 and 30, occurs when digested food or some other obstruction blocks the opening to the appendix and traps infective bacteria.  As the infection progresses, the appendix swells dangerously. The infection is marked by symptoms such as sudden pain that usually occurs in the lower right abdomen, pain and tenderness around the navel, nausea, irregularity, bloating, and fever. The pain may get worse if the person makes sudden movements, such as coughing or twisting, or if you walk.  Left untreated, an inflamed appendix is very likely to continue to swell and cause more and more severe symptoms.

 

If an inflamed appendix swells enough, it may burst, causing severe pain and releasing dangerous bacteria into the abdominal cavity (a condition called peritonitis).  Peritonitis is a life-threatening condition. Additionally, a ruptured appendix can create an abdominal abscess, a dangerous pocket of infectious bacteria and pus that forms around the appendix.

 

How is appendicitis treated?

Appendicitis is treated by surgical removal of the appendix.  If the appendix has ruptured already, the patient needs immediate surgery to clean the abdominal cavity of the infection. If the patient develops an abscess, the surgeons will leave a drainage tube in the abdomen for up to two weeks, then remove the appendix.  An intact, non-ruptured appendix can be removed through laparoscopic surgery (a less invasive form of surgery that allows faster recovery and minimal pain and scars). However, if the appendix has ruptured, surgeons will need to perform open surgery through a 5-10cm incision.

 

Failure to diagnose and treat appendicitis can cause considerable harm to the patient.

Sometimes, doctors fail to properly diagnose appendicitis and confuse its symptoms with non-urgent illnesses such as gastroenteritis (known as “stomach flu.”).  An incorrect diagnosis of appendicitis can occur when the doctor fails to perform a full and comprehensive physical examination or does not order the appropriate tests such as a CT scan.  If a doctor does not remove the affected appendix within 24 to 72 hours, it can rupture or burst causing significant medical harm.  The ruptured appendix can fill the patient’s abdominal cavity and surrounding organs with bacteria.  This can cause significant and sometimes permanent damage to other organs requiring extensive, painful, and costly continued medical treatment.  Other times, the ruptured appendix can cause an infection that is potentially fatal.

 

Advocates for Minnesota patients whose doctors or emergency room failed to timely diagnose appendicitis

If you or a loved one have suffered significant complications or trauma as a result of misdiagnosed appendicitis or negligent treatment of your appendicitis, call a medical malpractice lawyer immediately to evaluate whether your medical team treated you correctly and in a timely manner.  A timely, accurate diagnosis is essential in minimizing danger, pain, recovery time, and treatment costs. When consulting a lawyer, remember to bring all your documentation and medical records, and be prepared to go over a timeline of your symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.  Call Kuhlman Law, LLC at (612) 444-3374 for a free consultation regarding your potential case.

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