Ruptured Appendix Causes Internal Injuries, Infertility in Teenage Patient

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on January 10, 2017

Fertility Expert WitnessThis case involves a 15-year-old female who went to the local emergency room in Oregon with complaints of abdominal pain. Blood work was ordered which indicated a high white blood cell count. Radiology tests were not ordered and the patient was discharged with a misdiagnosis of the flu. The patient then went to her family physician the following day, where once again, a misdiagnosis of flu was made. Finally, several days later, the patient visited another doctor who identified a ruptured appendix. The patient was rushed to the hospital where an emergency appendectomy was finally performed. She suffered from numerous complications resulting from the ruptured appendix, including infertility, as a result of the delayed surgical intervention.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. How did a delay in diagnosis affect the surgical intervention, and did this delay alter this patient's outcome?
  • 2. If this diagnosis was made in a timelier manner, would the patient's future fertility have been unaffected?

Expert Witness Response E-001161

The delay in surgical intervention may very well have affected this patient’s outcome. When it comes to acute appendicitis, prompt surgical intervention is always required to avoid permanent injury or death. Usually, an elevated white blood cell count, along with abdominal pain, should be immediately suspicious for appendicitis, and warranted closer investigation in this case. The fact that no additional testing was done after the elevated WBC was discovered would seem to indicate a breach in the standard of care.

Contact this expert witness

Find a Fertility Expert Witness Near You

What State is your case in?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY