Patient Rights After a Botched Appendectomy
While the appendix is a relatively small organ that has no apparent function in the human body, it can lead to life-threatening complications when inflamed. Appendicitis causes severe pain in the lower right part of the belly, nausea, and vomiting, but the most serious issues result from a ruptured appendix. As such, a timely diagnosis and prompt appendectomy is essential. Unfortunately, health care providers may engage in negligence when identifying and treating appendicitis. Medscape, an online provider of continuing medical education for health care professionals, points out that women are most at risk. Appendicitis is misdiagnosed in one-third of adult women, as physicians mistake the condition for pelvic inflammatory disease, gastroenteritis, or a urinary tract infection.
A Florida medical malpractice attorney can explain your legal remedies if you suffered harm from a physician’s error in diagnosing or treating appendicitis. However, some background information may also be helpful.
Treatment Options for Appendicitis: Assuming the condition is properly diagnosed in a timely fashion, there are two primary approaches to treating the patient:
- Antibiotics: Medication may be administered to fight the bacterial infection that causes appendicitis. If antibiotics can eliminate the bacteria, they reduce the inflammation in the appendix and there is no longer a threat of rupture. Alone, medication may not work quickly enough, so it is often used along with surgery.
- Appendectomy Surgery: Because the appendix has no known function, a common treatment is to remove it once it becomes infected. A laparoscopic appendectomy is the least invasive surgery, requiring minimal hospitalization or an outpatient basis. Laparotomy is an open appendectomy through a single 4-inch incision.
Risk of Medical Errors Related to Appendicitis: Proper diagnosis is the first consideration, as this is where all treatment decisions start. Appendicitis is commonly misdiagnosed, and the mistakes usually occur in the emergency room when the patient presents with severe abdominal pain. In addition to adult women, health care providers often make mistakes in diagnosing appendicitis in toddlers, infants, and young adults. Appendicitis may be associated with many other medical conditions, but a physician should know to examine the patient and rule it out – or get started on antibiotics and/or surgery right away.
With respect to medical errors and an appendectomy procedure, complications can result through:
- Perforating the appendix during removal, which can lead to the spread of bacteria within your abdomen;
- Slicing into adjacent tissues or organs;
- Cutting into a blood vessel, potentially leading to excessive bleeding and lack of oxygen to the brain; and,
- Infection at the surgical site, which is more likely with the larger incision involved with laparotomy.
Our Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Assist with Your Legal Options
If you suffered harm after a physician misdiagnosed appendicitis or erred in providing care, it is important to retain experienced legal counsel right away to assist with your legal remedies. Our Miami medical malpractice attorneys at Freidin Brown, P.A. focus on medical malpractice cases, so we are well-prepared to seek all available compensation for your losses. Please contact our offices to schedule a free consultation about your rights.