Pediatric Appendicitis Misdiagnosis

New Jersey Attorneys for Victims of Misdiagnosed Childhood Appendicitis

Appendicitis is one of the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions among young children in the United States. In fact, for children under age 5, research has shown the misdiagnosis rate hovering between 57 and 67 percent. With such an extraordinary prevalence of appendicitis misdiagnosis, it is not surprising that many of these cases involve medical negligence. If a pediatrician or other doctor fails to thoroughly examine a child, recognize appendicitis as a possible cause of their symptoms, order appropriate tests, and/or make an accurate diagnosis, they may be found negligent. If your child’s doctor misdiagnosed, failed to diagnose, or was delayed in diagnosing their appendicitis in New Jersey, read on for more information about this condition and how medical negligence may be grounds for a pediatric malpractice lawsuit.

What is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is a tube, approximately 3.5 inches long that extends from the large intestine (colon). Appendicitis is always considered a medical emergency, as the appendix must be removed before it ruptures. If appendicitis is not diagnosed or misdiagnosed, the inflammation will progress and the appendix will perforate. When an appendix bursts, toxic substances leak into the abdominal cavity. A complication of a ruptured appendix is a condition called peritonitis, an inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity called the peritoneum. Untreated appendicitis and peritonitis can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Appendicitis in Children

Some symptoms that may indicate your child has appendicitis include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Back pain
  • Painful urination or difficulty urinating
  • Diarrhea

Infants with appendicitis may experience vomiting, diarrhea, fever, irritability, abdominal tenderness, and/or unusual use of the right hip.

How Common is Appendicitis Misdiagnosis in Pediatrics?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), appendicitis is among the leading conditions that doctors misdiagnose in children. For example, doctors misdiagnose approximately 27 percent of infants with appendicitis. As mentioned above, the misdiagnosis rate for children under 5 ranges from 57 and 67 percent. In addition, 7 percent of young children have to see a doctor twice before they are accurately diagnosed with appendicitis.

Causes of Pediatric Appendicitis Misdiagnosis

There are a variety of factors that may lead doctors to misdiagnosis, fail to diagnose, or be delayed in diagnosing appendicitis. For example, doctors may fail to thoroughly examine the child or to consider all potential diagnoses associated with the child’s symptoms. Many times, pediatricians and other doctors make in incorrect diagnosis. Appendicitis is frequently misdiagnosed as gastroenteritis, upper respiratory tract infection, or urinary tract infection (UTI).

Complications of Misdiagnosed Childhood Appendicitis

If a doctor misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose your child’s appendicitis, the consequences can be severe, if not deadly. Delayed diagnosis of appendicitis or diagnosing appendicitis as another condition significantly increases the likelihood that the appendix will rupture. In fact, one study showed 50 percent of children with a missed appendicitis diagnosis subsequently experienced a ruptured appendix. Missed diagnosis of appendicitis also increases the chance that the child will experience an abscess. In the most tragic scenarios, a missed diagnosis can be fatal.

Failure to Diagnose Child Appendicitis Attorneys in New Jersey

If a pediatrician, emergency room physician, or other medical professional misdiagnosed a case of appendicitis and your child suffered harm in New Jersey, you may have legal grounds to pursue damages. Our attorneys will listen to your child’s unique case and explain all of your potential options. Simply contact us at (866)-708-8617 for a free consultation. We have convenient office locations and Newark and Manhattan, which allows us to serve clients in Trenton, Morristown, Hoboken, Holmdel, Paramus, Hackensack, and throughout New Jersey and New York.

Resources:

Acute Appendicitis In Childhood: Diagnosis And Treatment In The New Millennium.

Does This Child Have Appendicitis?

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