medical illustration of man with abdominal painIt wasn’t like any stomachache you had previously experienced. Maybe the pain was more intense, or you had other concerning symptoms. Somehow, you knew that you were probably not suffering from gas, indigestion, or a stomach bug. You needed immediate medical attention, and you went to the hospital’s emergency room to get it.

Potentially Serious Causes of Abdominal Pain

Acute abdominal pain can be a sign of a critical and potentially life-threatening medical condition, such as:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in your body and extends from your heart through your abdomen. If you develop an aneurysm and it ruptures, life-threatening bleeding can occur. Emergency surgery may prevent a rupture.
  • Appendicitis. If your appendix becomes inflamed, it could rupture and spread infection throughout your abdomen. Surgery can prevent the appendix from rupturing in your body and potentially save your life.
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, occurs when blood glucose levels are so high that the blood fills up with acidic ketones. Prompt IV insulin treatment may prevent coma or death from this critical medical condition.
  • Diverticulitis. Diverticula are small pouches that can form in your digestive tract. Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula become infected. Prompt treatment with antibiotics or surgery can prevent an abscess or blockage from occurring.
  • Gall bladder infection. A gall bladder infection may occur because of gallstones or other causes. A gall bladder infection, also known as cholecystitis, can cause the gall bladder to rupture or the gall bladder tissue to die. Treatment such as medications or surgery may help prevent some complications.
  • Intestinal obstruction. When your intestine is blocked, food and liquid get trapped in your digestive system. Without treatment of the blockage, intestinal tissue can die, and infections can occur.
  • Kidney infection. Untreated kidney infections can cause dangerous bloodstream infections and permanent damage to the kidney. Antibiotics can help prevent these dangerous complications.
  • Pancreatitis. Inflammation of the pancreas can lead to serious complications, including internal bleeding, infection, diabetes, kidney failure, breathing problems, cancer, and other conditions. Hospital treatment is typically required for acute pancreatitis.
  • Pregnancy complications. Pregnancy complications including ectopic pregnancies, detached placentas, and other complications require emergency diagnosis and treatment.
  • Ruptured spleen. A ruptured spleen may result in life-threatening internal bleeding. Close monitoring or surgery may be required.

Other serious conditions, including heart attacks, bleeding ulcers, and dangerous infections, may also cause abdominal pain.

Emergency room doctors and nurses must often consider and test for multiple potential causes of abdominal pain simultaneously so that the right condition can be diagnosed and treated quickly. To diagnose your condition, ER doctors should conduct a physical exam and may order an abdominal x-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, or blood test.

What Happens When Abdominal Pain Diagnosis or Treatment Is Delayed

Emergency room doctors and nurses should consider the potentially severe causes of abdominal pain if you are pregnant or when you present with:

  • Intense pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Blood in your vomit, urine, or stool
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Back pain

A mistake made during triage, a delay in diagnosis, or a delay in treatment could cause you to suffer severe side effects that could result in death.

What to Do If a Medical Delay Hurts You

If an emergency room’s mistake injured you or led to your loved one's death, you need to know what to do next. You shouldn’t have to pay the price for the emergency room’s delay in care. While you can’t go back and undo the harm that has been done, you can take steps to protect your financial future.

You have the right to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who will protect your rights. Our Kentucky ER medical malpractice attorneys and our staff nurse will thoroughly investigate your case, and if we represent you, we will fight hard to get you fair compensation for your past and future medical costs, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages.

You need to make the first move. Call us today and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your rights and about protecting your future.

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky

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