Misdiagnosis Cases are Negligent and Deadly

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

The appendix sits in the lower right side of a person’s abdomen and is a small tube extending from the intestine.  Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes infected and inflamed.  Severe pain is the result.  Victims suffer from this pain along with vomiting.  Left untreated, the appendix can burst.  Once ruptured, toxic fluids spread within the body and can cause death without immediate medical care. 

Surgical care is the common remedy for appendicitis; the procedure is called an appendectomy.  Other treatments aren’t typically used because the only way to cure appendicitis is through removal of the appendix. 

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys have seen cases in which the patient was diagnosed with appendicitis, put under the knife for an appendectomy, and only to find out later that the patient did not have appendicitis at all.  In fact, the appendix was fine. 

How can this happen, and what can patients do when they were needlessly operated on?  Gall bladder disease can be diagnosed as appendicitis, as can certain types of liver disease.  Irritable bowel syndrome is often confused and treated as if the patient had appendicitis.  Additionally, pelvic diseases and an inflamed colon can also be confused with appendicitis. 

If you underwent an appendectomy only to find out that you did not have appendicitis, there might be a valid claim for medical malpractice available as a remedy.  This is only available if the doctor should have made the proper diagnoses, but did not because he/she did not follow the proper protocols.  If another doctor would not have made the misdiagnosis when faced with the same circumstances, then the defendant-doctor will be said to have breached his duty to the patient. 

To be clear, there must have been a doctor-patient relationship established in order to the medical professional to be held accountable for malpractice.  Also the duty owed to the patient must be established; a doctor will have to testify as to what the standard practice in the field is and will have to explain how the treating physician deviated from that standard.  The deviation must have caused the injury that the patient is complaining of. 

Lastly, there can be no recovery without a showing of damages.  Meaning, in order for a plaintiff to receive a jury award the plaintiff will have to prove that he/she suffered an actual loss.  The loss associated with having a wrongful appendectomy will be the pain associated with undergoing an unnecessary surgery; the cost of the procedure; the wages lost from missing work; any costs associated with not being treated for the other ailment from which the patient actually suffered.  So being misdiagnosed with appendicitis can also lead to a claim based on the doctor failing to diagnose the actual ailment from which the patient suffered. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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