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Ruptured Appendix

By Anonymous March 16, 2009 - 5:07pm
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My brothers appendix ruptured 5 days before being discovered by emergency room staff. He was septic by then and they put in a Jbulb to drain the infection and started him on antibiotics. He has been in the hospital for 5 days and no surgery, they can't because of infection. He is very impatient and he says he is going to leave tonight. He doesn't understand that he could die if he decides to just leave without finishing his treatment. Can't the doctors do anything to make him stay?

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Anon, this happened to a dear girlfriend of mine just a couple of months ago. She, too, had a ruptured appendix, and took several days before they figured out why she was sick.

This was actually the first time I'd ever heard of someone's appendix rupturing without an incredible amount of pain, but apparently it does happen, and sepsis is the biggest threat. My friend also had a septic condition and was given large amounts of antibiotics before she could also have surgery. And when she did have surgery, they had to remove some damaged tissue in addition to the appendix.

I hope that your brother can listen to reason and not endanger his own life due to impatience. I'm sure it's frustrating for him, especially if he's having to take off work and feels like he's seemingly getting nowhere. Hang in there and let us know how it goes.

March 19, 2009 - 9:06am

Hi Anon-

I'm sorry to hear about your brother and thanks for asking us at EmpowHer for suggestions. I hope we are able to help you through this difficult situation.

As Coach Virginia stated, the hospital is unable to keep your brother there against his will. He would have to sign papers agreeing to leave voluntarily and against medical advise, but he can leave.

It is important for you, your family, friends, or anyone he will listen to to explain to him that he will die if he leaves the hospital prematurely.
He is lucky to still be alive.

It may help explaining to him how lucky is to be alive just from waiting after his appendix ruptured, how he should be dead already and there is a reason he hasn't died yet.

Unfortunately, if he does choose to leave, you would be unable to force him back to the hospital unless he falls unconscious. Without medical supervision, it is likely this will happen rather quickly. For this reason, I would have someone stay with him at all times because he will inevitably need that someone to call 911 when the time presents itself.

This is a very difficult position for you to be faced with, especially having little or no control over the situation. The best thing you can do is be there the only way you know how for someone you love so dearly and consult with others if you are feeling too overwhelmed, stressed out, or depressed.

I hope your brother gets the help he needs. You are a great sister, trying to be there for him the only way you know how, and seeking advice to help him through this difficult time.

Good luck and keep us updated on the situation.

March 17, 2009 - 3:09pm

Dear Anon, I am sorry your brother had to go through this traumatic experience. Hospitals are not a favorite of mine either but they are a necessary evil. I think your brother needs to evaluate the consequences of his desire to leave the hospital. He is a liability right now to those who are caring for him, but I do not think there is a legal recourse to keep him against his will unless he is not mentally capable of making a decision. If he insists on leaving, the hospital legal team will draft the necessary paperwork that will free them from any legal responsibility. It is very common and this "against medical advice" document will be kept in file by the hospital.

I think your brother's doctor needs to have a "tough talk" with your brother and let him see the medical consequences of his behavior not to those who are caring for him, but to his own wellbeing. Until the infection is treated, I doubt the doctor will want to remove the appendix. Five days are not long enough for a serious rupture of the appendix, your brother was lucky that he did not die as a consequence of this. Being septic is not to be taken lightly. Unless he is on a suicidal path.

March 16, 2009 - 9:16pm
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