Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Misdiagnosed with Pancreatitis

Posted In: Medical Errors 8 Replies
  • Posted By: almondbury
  • January 28, 2007
  • 11:37 AM

My name is Rhys R Robinson this is a brief history of what happened to me
and my subsequent treatment at a private Clinic in JHB.

On the December 2006 I had a bad fall from a 2-story building, I then went
to the clinic for a check up
On arrival I was x-rayed and found to have no broken bones no further tests
or scans were carried out.

A week later I had a few drinks with some friends and the following morning
had excruciating pain in my abdomen which was very distended.

I then returned to the clinic and was told by Dr x, who told my sister and
my sister in law (who is a doctor at the George Hospital) that I had
Pancreatitis and that I had a 20% chance of dying I was then placed into a
general ward and placed on a drip of TPN and anti-biotics and I was also
given pain killers via the drip.

About a week later my condition deteriorated I was placed into ICU and onto
life support as my oxygen saturation levels were at 40% and I was turning

My brother who has nursing training very concerned with my condition then
consulted a second doctor a specialist gastrointerologist who came to see me
in ICU then ordered a sonar scan and it was found that I had air and fluid
in my abdominal cavity.

Still on a respirator I was then taken for a CT scan and during this
procedure I was required to "bag myself".
Which I feel under was totally unexceptable under my present condition.

After the scan I was taken into theater where a laperotomy was performed by
Dr x and it was found that I had a rupture in my intestine and that infact
was suffering from Peritonitis.
I feel it to be totally unexceptable for the doctor not to have done a scan
in the first place and to misdiagnose my condition as Pancreatitis as I am
only 34 years of age with no history of substance abuse.
A few days after the laperotomy I was placed back into the general ward and
two days later my drain was removed and told I had been discharged, with no
antibiotics I was now under the care of Dr y as Dr x had gone on holiday to

A few days later my condition deteriorated and I then returned to the clinic
and was told that they, the hospital would not admit me unless I paid them a
further R20 000.00. Up to this point they had been paid an initial R30
000.00 and a further R50 000.00 by my sister.
My sister then arraigned a plane ticket and a wheelchair for me and I was
flown to George and immediately taken to the George provincial hospital,
where I was found that I had gone septic again. They performed a second
laperotomy on me cleaned me out inserted a drain and placed me on
antibiotics again, the drain has now been removed after 2 weeks and I am
recovering quite well but I feel if I had not been misdiagnosed in the first
place I would not have needed to go into ICU or have needed to have a second

Reply Flag this Discussion

8 Replies:

  • I would urge you to go to a pancreatis speacializing center like in MD Anderson, Houston Tesas, John Hopkins or University of COlumbia. Try to check the John Hopkins discussion group
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 31, 2007
    • 01:03 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Respondent:Just like many doctors, you did not read this persons post carefully. He indicated that he was misdiagnosed with Pancreatitis when he actually had Perontitis. Also, I do not think he could visit Hopkins or M D Anderson since his post indicates that he was treated in Europe perhaps England. I think this is the number one problem in all areas of life today.... critical listening skills. The necessity to listen is not there and 99 percent of the people just do not want to listen to anyone or anything. No wonder things have gone so awry.To the origiinal poster, please forgive us for being so insensitive to our lack of listening skills.Sincerely,A concerned person
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 3, 2007
    • 05:07 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Hi Thankyouthe patient is in fact in South AfricaDo you have any advice are you a medical personKind RegardsJohn
    almondbury 1 Replies
    • February 9, 2007
    • 01:50 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Sir:Please accept my apologies for misinterpreting location. However, it was a little closer than America. I do not have any advice for you, but to stay on top of your health, be sure to get your medical records, because half of the time, the doctors say one thing when there is something else on scans and advocate fiercely for yourself.Glad you are on the mend.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • One of the aetiologies for pancreatitis is trauma, which you had- so you needn't think that they were accusing you of substance abuse by diagnosing you with pancreatitis. In fact, the list of aetiologies of pancretitis can go as follows: (the famous 'get smashed' pnemonic)GallstonesEthanolTraumaSteroidsMumpsAutoimmunityScorpion VenomHyperlipidaemiaEndoscopic Retrograde CholangiopancreatographyDrugsIt seemed a reasonable diagnosis given the facts you have given on the post so far, but obviously more information is needed before the error of the diagnosis is clear. A decent physical examination should have revealed air and fluid in the abdominal cavity, I wonder- did they not carry out an Ultrasound Scan (which I presume you mean by Sonar) when investigating you in the first place for pancreatitis?What's that 'possibly England' comment all about?! I would have thought it was obvious given the poor quality of medical care, the locations and the currency being given in 'R' that it was more likely to be SA than England!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • He said theatre instead of operating room, sonar instead of ultrasound- it would be a reasonable thought that it was a UK linked country. Actually when I saw the "R" I thought India....."don't get paranoid"
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Gallstones and Alcohol abuse are really common, and both are causes of pancreatitis. Patients usually underreport their consumption of alcohol, and given that this illness followed 'a few drinks with friends', the treating doctor was sensible to make the link. Pancreatitis can cause peritonitis, and this is one of the reasons that pancreatitis has such a high mortality (20%). Some blood tests should have been ordered to confirm a diagnosis of pancreatitis, including serum amylase and lipase.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • You had to "bag yourself"? A respiratory therapist would have accompanied you into the scanner and "bagged you" if you had needed it. (in most civilized countries). Good God, where do you live? I'll make a note to never vacation there!:(
    rad-skw 1,605 Replies Flag this Response
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