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Where does appendicitis fall on the list misdiagnosed conditions?

The medical profession has been on the job of uncovering what ails the human body and trying to promote healing for a lot of years. If you Google the phrase “earliest doctor” one of the things you will learn is that the first person to actually go by the official title was purported to be an Egyptian fellow back in about 2600 B.C.

In the millennia since, a lot has been discovered and many common ailments are widely known and understood. But as we pointed out in a post on this blog not too long ago, there are a lot of conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed still today. Identified in that item were such things as lupus, which is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, which may receive a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, a viral infection or even lupus.

One condition that we didn’t touch on was appendicitis. Despite it’s being so common that nearly everyone has some concept of what it is, it is considered to be the third most missed diagnosis. It comes in behind heart attacks and breast cancer.

This is not a small issue, either. According to various reports, including one in the Journal of Patient Safety in September 2013, it’s estimated that at least 400,000 people suffer premature death because of preventable harm, including misdiagnoses.

And specific to appendicitis, the National Library of Medicine shared another 2013 study in which researchers concluded that doctors may be missing a diagnosis of the condition in children in nearly 5 percent of cases. And in the cases that were studied in which a miss was recorded, patients tended to face much more dire outcomes, including perforations, a need for greater postoperative interventions and longer hospital stays.

Of course, in some cases, a missed appendicitis diagnosis can be fatal.

If you have suffered in any way and suspect that misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose was involved, the protection of your rights may depend on consulting with a skilled attorney.

Source: National Library of Medicine, “The implications of missed opportunities to diagnose appendicitis in children,” accessed Feb. 20, 2015