"Misdiagnosis and ruptured appendix."

About: Canberra Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

I brought my child to the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department one night with a high temperature and stomach pains to be told my child had gastro even though they had no signs of gastro. We left with a script for panadeine forte and I was told to keep my child home. I asked could it be appendicitis, but that seemed to be dismissed without any scans, etc. 


A couple of mornings later my child was getting no better and still had a temp of 42, which I could not break and their skin was red so we rushed our child back to Canberra Hospital. Luckily this time we saw another doctor who told me that my child was very, very ill and would not be leaving until they found out why and treated them. She took blood cultures and ordered a scan. Our child had to go on intravenous antibiotics straight away and we waited for the emergency surgeon who was on duty to come and talk to us.  She came and told us that she believed that our child's appendix had ruptured and that their abdomen was full of pus. She said they could not operate until our child's heart rate came down, as it was way too high due to the infection in our child's body and they would look at surgery later on that night. She was very apologetic that our child was sent home two days prior and that this had now happened. 
They ended up doing emergency surgery on our child sooner than expected as they decided our child had to go in sooner due to their condition and warned us of the many complications that could arise. 
After a longer surgery than first anticipated the surgeon came to see us and said that our child's abdomen was a mess. Our child's small intestines were matted together with gangrenous junk and pus. Our child had a long scar as keyhole surgery was out of the question. Our child now had sepsis on top and had to go into the high care unit and have draining tubes, a catheter and an elephant trunk in their nose to drain the green gangrenous fluid out of their abdomen.  The nursing staff also had trouble getting a vein for blood tests and cannulas for the IV treatments as our child's veins collapsed.
I believe that if the doctor who first saw our child had taken more time to listen to my concerns and not just rush to (mis)diagnose my child with gastro (as it was going around) - our child may have been correctly diagnosed with appendicitis that night instead of being sent home and their appendix rupturing and ending up in the children's high care unit. Our child was so very sick and we could have lost our precious and only child. 
Our child still has bowel issues and the sepsis has definitely had an impact on them. Sepsis is a serious condition and its after effects can linger for a long time. 
The one thing I do know for sure is that a mother's instinct is always right! 
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