Jake Tapper’s Daughter Nearly Died After ‘Entirely Preventable’ Medical Problem Was Misdiagnosed At Hospital
Jake Tapper‘s daughter Alice is reliving a horrible situation.
The 15-year-old high school sophomore was misdiagnosed last year around Thanksgiving after experiencing severe abdominal pain for days. She ended up having appendicitis. But as she tells it now, doctors didn’t believe her pain to be as serious as it was, and they downplayed her symptoms. Horrifically, the health issue nearly killed her — until her famous CNN host father pulled rank and demanded the hospital take action!!
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Alice wrote an op-ed for CNN late last week. In it, she revealed how she “almost died” due to appendicitis while doctors incorrectly diagnosed her pain as a viral infection. The pain began one weekend in November of last year. The teen started feeling stomach cramping and chills. She had a fever and was vomiting. For hours, it got worse. When she got to the emergency room, she had low blood pressure, “intense” stomach pain, and a high white blood cell count.
Eventually, doctors transferred Alice to a second hospital. Her pediatrician wanted her checked for appendicitis, but doctors there didn’t appear to be on the ball about it. In her op-ed, Alice recalled:
“With guidance from my pediatrician, my parents told the doctors to check for appendicitis. But since I was tender all over my abdomen — not just on my right side — the doctors ruled it out. My parents kept pressing, so a doctor told me to stand up and jump. I could barely get an inch off the ground. The doctors concluded that what I had must be a viral infection and would eventually just go away.”
And she continued:
“It didn’t. I got sicker and my skin started turning a pale green. As Monday turned into Tuesday, I was only given Tylenol for my pain. My mom asked the doctors why I couldn’t get a sonogram to see what was happening inside my abdomen; they said it wasn’t needed. My dad asked why I couldn’t get antibiotics; the doctors said for a viral infection they could do more harm than good. My parents kept pushing for a gastroenterologist who might have more insight about my condition to evaluate me, but one never came.”
By that point, Alice understandably began to feel “helpless” and “alarmed” over the lack of action taken by medical professionals in the hospital. She wrote:
“I felt helpless. My condition wasn’t the only thing that alarmed me; so did the lack of recognition I received from the hospital. I was not being heard; when I described to the doctors how much pain I was in, they responded with condescending looks.”
Ugh… That’s unacceptable!
After a day in the hospital, her famous father went home for a few hours. But just after arriving, Alice’s mom called and said the teen was still in horrible pain in her hospital bed, and getting worse.
So, Jake got pissed — and took action. His daughter recalled what happened next:
“On Tuesday night, my dad went home to be with my brother, but it wasn’t long before my mom called him in tears. I was in agony and was only being treated with a heating pad. My dad got the phone number for the hospital administrator and begged for a gastroenterologist, for imaging — for anything. The phone call worked, and at the hospital administrator’s orders, I was finally taken to get an abdominal X-ray. The imaging showed this was no viral infection.”
F**king FINALLY!! An administrator moved to take action and got doctors to do what they should have done in the first place! Alice wrote how an ultrasound finally revealed what was going on in her stomach:
“In the middle of the night, I was rushed to get an ultrasound that revealed I had a perforated appendix that was leaking a poisonous stream of bacteria throughout my internal organs. When I learned my diagnosis, I was almost relieved. At least the doctors now had a plan. Finally, the surgical team took over. The next couple of hours were a blur. A CT scan was followed by emergency surgery; two laparoscopic drains were inserted in my body to get rid of the toxic leakage. I had sepsis and we would later learn I was going into hypovolemic shock — which can cause organs to stop working. That night was the scariest night of my life.”
And the misdiagnosis is awful. In fact, that’s why Alice is now writing her op-ed. After having “returned to normal,” she started doing research on appendicitis in teenagers. One of the data points she uncovered came from the University of Michigan‘s Pediatric Emergency Medicine Department, which found that appendicitis is missed in up to 15% of children!
“This is because there are so many possible reasons for abdominal pain. Appendicitis can mimic several common conditions including constipation and acute gastroenteritis, which my hospital pediatricians mistakenly thought I had. … Up to half of appendicitis patients may not exhibit the classic signs of right lower quadrant pain, fever and vomiting [and] appendicitis misdiagnoses are more likely in children under 5 — and in girls. I was disappointed but not surprised to learn that girls can be listened to and taken seriously less often.”
She also recounts the tale of a 5-year-old girl in England named Elspeth Moore. In 2018, Moore was sent home by a physician despite complaining that her stomach “felt like it was on fire.” The doctor diagnosed it as a viral infection.
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Two days later, Moore died of peritonitis, sepsis, and acute appendicitis. Alice mourned Moore’s loss and explained her personal mission to improve health outcomes in children:
“I have a new mission to spread awareness about misdiagnoses of appendicitis — because what happened to Elspeth could have happened to me, too. The X-ray machine was down the hall, the CT machine just a floor below, the sonogram machine just steps away and the antibiotics I needed were just one phone call away. But doctors didn’t utilize these tools to quickly diagnose and treat me and, as a result, I almost died. It breaks my heart to think about the boys and girls who don’t have parents who can get the phone number of the hospital administrator — who can’t make their voices break through.”
Amen to that. Well said!
The teen concluded:
“I still can’t believe this happened to me — and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
You can read Alice Tapper’s full op-ed HERE.
And here is more on her awful experience with appendicitis and misdiagnosis (below):
Such a crazy and scary situation. Thank goodness Alice is OK now!!
[Image via CNN/YouTube]