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Why do so many doctors miss pediatric appendicitis in the ER?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

If you are a parent, you know there is nothing worse than having a sick child. Fortunately, most childhood ailments are minor and go away on their own without medical intervention. Appendicitis is not one of these. In fact, without immediate care, appendicitis can quickly become life-threatening.

According to Michigan Medicine, doctors misidentify between 3.8% and 15% of pediatric appendicitis cases. That is, with young appendicitis sufferers, emergency room doctors think something else is wrong as much as 15% of the time.

A lack of localized pain

When they are in medical school and residency programs, many ER physicians learn that appendicitis comes with localized pain in the lower abdomen. This is not always true, however. Indeed, your child may have appendicitis without having specific discomfort in one part of his or her stomach.

The outdated jumping test

Along with a potential lack of localized pain, there is another diagnostic test that might be leading ER doctors astray. Usually, children who are suffering from appendicitis cannot complete a vertical jump. That is, appendicitis sufferers should not be able to leave the floor when trying to jump upward.

Nevertheless, because some children who have the condition can jump, doctors should not overly rely on the outdated jumping test. As you probably suspect, bloodwork, lab tests and internal imaging are much more reliable.

Medical malpractice

With pediatric appendicitis, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are often critical. Ultimately, if your son or daughter suffers additional injuries because of a missed diagnosis, you might have grounds to pursue substantial financial compensation.


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