Seven things you need to know about appendicitis

It’s scary anytime someone has a sudden abdominal pain. That’s exactly what happened after lunch one Sunday afternoon to a loved one. Fortunately, we were right next to the hospital and got everything taken care of quickly.

In some situations, sudden abdominal pain can be life-threatening. That’s why it’s important to get checked out by a physician immediately. Appendicitis is one example.

What is appendicitis?

The appendix is a small organ about the size of a pinky finger. When the appendix gets infected or bursts, it causes appendicitis.

Most of the time a blockage causes the appendix to get infected. Many different conditions can cause a blockage, but the important thing is that if the blockage goes untreated, it can cause the appendix to burst. Of course, if the organ bursts, its contents spill out into the abdomen, which spreads the infection and inflammation.

This dangerous condition is most common in children aged 10-19 and is the most common reason for emergency surgery in that age group.

Symptoms of appendicitis

The big thing to remember about appendicitis symptoms is that they usually show up quickly, usually 4-48 hours after there’s a problem. The classic symptom is a new pain (or pain that gets dramatically worse) in the lower right side of your abdomen. For pregnant moms, the pain could be in the upper right side of the abdomen. If you notice this, it’s time to get to the emergency room.

It’s even more urgent and important to get to the emergency room if you have these additional symptoms: nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, inability to pass gas, lethargy (loss of energy), or fever.

Appendicitis and medical malpractice

In my experience, as a Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, doctors sometimes miss the mark by confusing the signs and symptoms of appendicitis with other conditions.

It’s true that appendicitis can look like other conditions, including a gallbladder attack, stomach or intestinal problems, pelvic inflammatory disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease. Yet, the standard of care requires physicians to include appendicitis as a potential diagnosis in their emergency medical decision-making.

Doctors diagnose appendicitis by taking a complete history from the patient and then ordering bloodwork to look for signs of an infection, along with diagnostic radiology imaging in the form of x-rays or a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis.

The treatment for appendicitis is usually an emergency surgery to remove the appendix. This procedure is called an appendectomy. If there is a delay in diagnosing and treating appendicitis, it can cause the patient to develop a severe, life-threatening infection.

We are here to help

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by hospital or medical care, then the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2018, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.