WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A year ago, Jake Tapper’s daughter Alice was diagnosed with a viral infection instead of appendicitis.
- By the time she was properly diagnosed, her appendix had already ruptured and toxic fluid already leaked and poisoned her other internal organs.
- The Tapper family shared their experience on a CNN segment to create awareness on misdiagnosis and help others who have experienced the same.
As an introduction to his short segment on CNN, journalist Jake Tapper disclosed that he nearly lost his then 14-year-old daughter after an appendicitis misdiagnosis.
Tapper said, “I unfortunately know all too well about the cost of misdiagnosis. About a year ago, my then 14-year-old daughter Alice almost died as a result.”
Tapper added, “Appendicitis doesn’t always present a standard way, which means that this specific misdiagnosis happens too often and sometimes to far more tragic results.”
His daughter Alice also wrote an opinion piece on the segment to spread awareness about the issue and help others.
Alice said that the doctors said she had a viral infection after she was hospitalized for stomach pain. They ruled out appendicitis based on her having pain in just one area and she was still able to jump, although barely an inch, from the ground.
Alice’s mom, Jennifer Tapper asked if they should have a sonogram but the doctors said that the data was not needed.
According to Alice, the family even asked for antibiotics only to be told the medicine “could do more harm than good.”
For the next three days at the hospital, Alice’s abdomen got more painful and her skin turned pale green.
Finally, when Alice got an abdominal X-ray, it revealed that Alice’s appendix had ruptured and toxic fluid was already spreading and poisoning her other internal organs.
They eventually got her appendix out 12 weeks after Alice had undergone two laparoscopic drain surgeries due to the leak.
When asked by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta if they “really thought Alice might die,” Jennifer replied, “I absolutely don’t like to think that she could’ve died, but 100 percent I was starting to think…”
After her hospitalization, Alice said she struggled to eat, lost so much weight, had difficulty functioning, and had trouble going to school. She got so tired her mom had to pick her up from school early.
Alice is not the only one who suffered from a similar misdiagnosis. 5-year-old Elspeth Moore of England even died because of it.
Alice said, “I wish it never happened to me obviously, but it was a very important learning experience to me. I want other kids to know that they need to advocate for themselves.”