Medical professionals failed to spot burst appendix

  • January 4, 2019
  • A burst appendix left David within hours of death after it was missed on four separate visits by the teenager to GPs or Worcester Royal Hospital – even after surgery he was left with a stoma bag, unable to walk long distances, and less ability to enjoy previous activities such as swimming or socialising with friends.

    He and his mother Gayle came to Elizabeth Wickson of Medical Accident Group for help – she said: “It is almost unbelievable that so many medical professionals failed to spot a burst appendix and that Gayle’s concerns about his persistent vomiting, weight loss and inability to walk were dismissed.

    “If she had not persisted, David could have died. I was glad to be able to help them both.”

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    Three of his visits were to his local GP surgery, where he was treated for stomach cramps, and Gayle was assured that there was no issue with his appendix. The hospital’s own primary care unit also missed the problem, even after an examination showed quite clearly that pressure on his stomach made him flinch.

    On his final visit to the surgery, a locum doctor referred him to hospital, but reassured Gayle that is wasn’t urgent and was nothing to worry about. On arrival at A and E, David was examined and rushed into surgery – his appendix had ruptured days earlier and without urgent action, he would have died.

    Unfortunately, his problems were not over – the operation left him with a perforated bowel and he had to be fitted with a stoma bag to allow his bowel to recover. He wore the bag for eight months, which he found very difficult and embarrassing.

    After the surgery, Gayle said: “He was very active – he often went swimming and was always out socialising with his friends. He no longer does these activities because of his stoma bag. His social life has also been limited by the extensive scarring on his body. He is reluctant to go out unless accompanied by me or his sister.”

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    Elizabeth said: “The issues here were whether the medical staff failed to uphold their duties of care, by not referring him to hospital when he had increasingly violent stomach pains and vomiting; also whether the delays involved culminated in his ruptured appendix.”

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