Emergency medicine

Abdominal pain, constipation – expect the unexpected

Gordian Fulde



Serious pathology is often initially misdiagnosed as constipation or gastroenteritis in elderly patients.

Article Extract

As a GP also working shifts in the local hospital’s emergency department, you know that very few cases are straightforward and uncomplicated, especially among older patients, and that potential litigation is an increasing problem.

You recall a case in which the emergency department’s policy of not discharging a patient with a markedly raised white cell count without consultation with senior staff may well have saved later litigation.