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D.C. Appendicitis Misdiagnosis Lawyer

Woman suffering from abdominal pain in her appendix.

Appendicitis is a relatively common health condition, affecting about 1 in 1,000 people in the U.S. However, some people may have their appendicitis misdiagnosed by a doctor. Unfortunately, appendicitis misdiagnosis can lead to life-threatening complications.

If you’ve suffered complications due to negligent misdiagnosis of your appendicitis, you deserve to demand compensation for your financial and personal losses. Contact The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates for a free initial case review to find out how. You’ll be able to discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable D.C. appendicitis misdiagnosis lawyer.

What Is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a medical condition involving inflammation of the appendix. Appendicitis can occur when the appendix gets infected or the inside of the appendix is blocked. If appendicitis goes untreated, the appendix will eventually swell and burst. A ruptured appendix can lead to further infection and eventually death. Removal of an inflamed appendix through a surgery called an appendectomy is the only treatment for appendicitis.

What Are Some Signs That Doctors Look for to Indicate Appendicitis?

Unfortunately, appendicitis causes many of the same symptoms as other abdominal conditions and diseases. However, doctors may consider appendicitis if a patient reports symptoms such as:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Difficulty or pain when moving
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain around the belly button
  • Lower right quadrant pain

Doctors must perform diagnostic tests to rule out other potential causes of these symptoms to confirm a diagnosis of appendicitis.

Team of surgeons in session for a major operation.

What Are Some Reasons a Doctor Might Not Diagnose a Case of Appendicitis?

Because appendicitis causes symptoms common to other abdominal conditions, a doctor may fail to diagnose a patient with appendicitis. Some of the reasons for misdiagnosis of appendicitis include:

  • A patient presents with symptoms not typical for appendicitis.
  • A patient takes a pain reliever that relieves abdominal pain or other symptoms.
  • A doctor fails to conduct a proper physical exam to rule out appendicitis.
  • A doctor fails to order laboratory testing or diagnostic imaging, such as CT scans or ultrasounds.
  • A doctor provides inadequate follow-up with a patient within 12 to 24 hours to confirm whether treatment has resolved the patient’s symptoms.
  • A doctor diagnoses the patient with another condition, such as gastroenteritis, gallstones, urinary tract infections, stomach ulcers, ovarian cysts, colitis, diverticulitis, or Crohn’s disease.

What Complications Can Result If Appendicitis Is Not Properly Diagnosed?

As a case of appendicitis goes undiagnosed, the chances of complications rapidly increase. An undiagnosed case of appendicitis will eventually result in the perforation or rupture of the appendix. A burst appendix will lead to a patient developing a life-threatening infection if left untreated.

If doctors catch appendicitis before the appendix suffers a perforation or rupture, surgeons can remove the appendix through laparoscopic surgery. A laparoscopy has a lower risk of complications and faster recovery time than the alternative. However, once the appendix bursts, a patient must undergo open abdominal surgery to clean the abdominal cavity. This surgery has much more significant risks of complications and longer recovery time.

Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice If My Appendicitis Is Not Properly Diagnosed?

You may have a medical malpractice claim if your doctor failed to diagnose your appendicitis. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to treat a patient according to the applicable standard of care. Medical professionals generally define the standard of care as the treatment decisions and actions that other healthcare professionals of similar training and experience would take in identical circumstances. You may sue for a misdiagnosed case of appendicitis if other doctors would have made different decisions in your case that would have led to a more timely, correct diagnosis.

What If My Appendix Was Removed But Did Not Need to Be?

A doctor may incorrectly diagnose a patient with appendicitis, leading to the patient undergoing a “negative” appendectomy. A negative appendectomy occurs when a patient’s appendix is removed, but doctors later confirm that the patient did not have appendicitis. If you underwent an unnecessary appendectomy, you may have a viable medical malpractice claim to recover compensation for the cost of the appendectomy, lost wages during your recovery from surgery, and other harm that may have resulted from post-surgical complications.

What Is Necessary to File a Medical Malpractice Claim for an Appendicitis Misdiagnosis?

To prove that your appendicitis misdiagnosis occurred due to your doctor’s malpractice, you may need to rely on various evidence, such as:

  • Your medical records
  • Healthcare provider notes
  • Diagnostic testing results, including lab test results or radiology scans
  • Witness testimony
  • Medical expert reports and testimony

In most cases, you will need medical expert testimony to describe the applicable standard of care in your case. They will also explain how your healthcare providers’ conduct fell below that standard.

What Damages Can I Recover from My Lawsuit?

In a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can recover compensation for losses you incurred due to an appendicitis misdiagnosis. Your financial recovery may include money for:

  • Costs of additional medical treatment caused by the misdiagnosis
  • Lost wages from additional time missed from work
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Additional physical pain and anguish
  • Emotional trauma and distress from increased pain or health complications
  • Loss of quality of life

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Washington, D.C.?

Under the District of Columbia’s statute of limitations, you have three years after a misdiagnosis of appendicitis to file a lawsuit against the medical providers at fault for the misdiagnosis. In addition to the statute of limitations, the D.C. Code requires you to notify the healthcare providers you intend to sue for malpractice at least 90 days before you file your lawsuit.

Contact a D.C. Appendicitis Misdiagnosis Lawyer

When you’ve suffered complications after a misdiagnosis of appendicitis, turn to The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates. Our principal attorney, Dr. Michael Wilson, is a lawyer and a physician, making him uniquely qualified to pursue medical malpractice claims. Our firm has a proven record of results, obtaining over $100 million in compensation for our clients. We can pursue financial recovery and accountability from your negligent healthcare provider on your behalf.

To learn more, contact The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates today for a free consultation with a D.C. appendicitis misdiagnosis lawyer.

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