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If a family member has died as a result of a delay in the diagnosis or treatment of peritonitis.
What is Peritonitis
Peritonitis is an infection of the peritoneum - the membrane
that acts as a liner covering the organs in the abdomen.
Peritonitis is a life-threatening condition that requires
immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Common Causes of Peritonitis
Peritonitis generally arises due to a rupture or perforation
of certain organs as a result of:
Peritonitis can also occur without a perforation such as from ascitis (the
build up of fluid in the abdominal cavity) due to advanced cirrhosis of
- certain medical procedures such as
- gastrointestinal surgery,
- feeding tubes,
- paracentesis (the withdrawal of fluid from the abdomen), or
- peritoneal dialysis
- ruptured appendix;
- stomach ulcer;
- perforated colon;
- inflammatory bowel disease like
- Chron's disease,
- ulcerative colitis, or
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Peritonitis
The most common symptoms of peritonitis are those commonly
associated with a severe infection and abdominal issues.
The symptoms of a Peritonitis in many cases consist of
one or more of the following:
- abdominal pain or tenderness;
- bloating or a distended abdomen;
- nausea or vomiting;
- loss of appetite;
- inability to pass stool or gar;
- low outputs of urine; and
Patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis may also
exhibit the following:
- the dialysis fluid is cloudy;
- the dialysis fluid gives of an unusual odor; and
- the dialysis fluid has white flecks, strands or clumps.
If a patient has substantial risk factors or
exhibits symptoms the patient's
physician should consider and rule out Peritonitis.
Diagnostic testing for Peritonitis may include a through physical
examination together with certain blood tests and imaging studies
- blood tests
- to check for elevated white blood cell counts and
- the presence of infection;
- Imaging tests to check for holes or perforations in the intestinal tract
- X-ray to check for air in the abdomen
- CT scan to check for fluid in the abdomen and sogns of infection
- peritoneal fluid analysis
Because symptoms of a Peritonitis are non-specific,
specific diagnostic tests are necessary to rule out the
possibility of Peritonitis.
Treatment for Peritonitis typically includes the
- to remove dead tissue
- remove the source of infection (such as a burst appendix)
- repair any ruptures and
- prevent the from spreading;
Depending on the extent of the infection treatment may also
include the use of intravenous (IV) fluids for hydration,
oxygen, pain medication and blood transfusion. In cases
involving peritoneal dialysis it may be necessary to use
an alternate method of dialysis or stop it temporarily.
Prognosis Without Treatment
Without effective treatment, the infection will spread
and eventually turn into sepsis. This can lead to
organ failure and eventually result in the patient's
Any undue delay in diagnosing or treating Peritonitis
can have tragic consequences.
Unfortunately, too often
warning signs and symptoms are ignored,
and treatment is delayed.
The following are among the more common forms of
negligence or medical malpractice by physicians and
other health care providers in
diagnosing and/or treating patients with Peritonitis:
The above are only examples and are by no means intended
to be an exhaustive list of acts of malpractice.
- Causing a rupture or perforation during a medical
- Failing to consider Peritonitis as a possibility
- Failing to order appropriate blood test or
- Misreading the test results
- Failing to order appropriate treatment for
a patient with Peritonitis
- Failing to follow-up with the patient
If a member of your family died as a result of Peritonitis
and you suspect that medical malpractice may have been
should immediately contact a competent attorney.
The attorney will work with you to determine legal
options that may be available.
Call or email for a Free Attorney Consultation
Law Office of Joseph A. Hernandez, P.C.
Phone: (781) 461-9400
Toll Free: (866) 461-9400
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