The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Garau Germano Hanley& Pennington, P.C., frequently handle cases involving the misdiagnosis of patients with abdominal pain. Abdominal pain can be caused by a myriad of conditions; some relatively benign, others life-threatening. When doctors or other health care providers fail to take adequate steps to ascertain the cause of a patient’s abdominal pain, the results can be tragic.
Among the more serious conditions which may be signaled by abdominal pain are ischemic bowel, abdominal aortic aneurysm, appendicitis, acute diverticulitis, and bowel obstruction or perforation. All of these conditions can cause serious harm or death if not promptly treated. It is imperative that doctors and other health care providers take the necessary steps to rule out these serious conditions.
A thorough history and physical examination are typically the first steps in evaluating the patient with abdominal pain. The history should reveal the time of onset of the pain, duration, location, intensity, and any associated symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. The physical exam should include an assessment of the patient’s appearance, position, and degree of discomfort; assessment of the patient’s vital signs; inspection of the abdomen, including listening for bowel sounds; and palpation of the abdomen to assess for tenderness.
Patients with abdominal pain are frequently x-rayed, particularly in the emergency department. However, studies have shown x-rays to be of limited use in the diagnosis of the cause of abdominal pain. CT scans are the diagnostic test of choice for most serious conditions which present with abdominal pain as a chief complaint.
An incorrect or delayed diagnosis of a patient with abdominal pain can result in a tragic outcome. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can assist you in evaluating whether an erroneous diagnosis was the result of medical malpractice.