I couldn’t see a GP… then had to be rushed to hospital with appendicitis: In a dramatic testimony, BBC News star REETA CHAKRABARTI reveals how easy it can be for medics to miss a condition too often dismissed as a gastric upset 

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to lie Early in the bed, I was woken up by a strange and sharp pain at the top of my stomach. It was astonishing. It didn’t feel like food poisoning or worms in the stomach.

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It was a dull ache under my rib cage, just above my navel. I took some paracetamol and tried to go back to sleep.

It was a Friday morning last month, and I had to read the news at ten o’clock that evening. I don’t finish work until 10.45 pm, so an interrupted night was not ideal.

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Later in the morning, I was still in pain, unable to have breakfast or go for my planned swim.

I called the GP surgery, where I have been a patient for almost three years – although I have never met any doctor there, because, since COVID, I have only been offered a phone consultation so far.

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BBC newsreader Rita Chakraborty (pictured) shares her experience with appendicitis when she was hospitalized in Italy

A local doctor called immediately and I told where the pain was and how strong it felt. He asked if there was discomfort in the left or right side of the abdomen, and I said no, it’s usually in the middle.

He said he thought it was a touch of gastritis, or inflammation of the intestines, and prescribed a Gaviscon-type drug, saying he was sure it would soon subside.

I had no question of seeing him in person. I did as he suggested but the pain didn’t subside, and I was forced to cancel my shift at work.

Twenty-four hours after the pain started, it was just as bad, and I began to feel quite anxious. The medicine made no difference.

I was confined to bed, unable to eat. I got in touch with NHS 111, who agreed it was troubling, and they gave me an appointment at a local hospital’s A&E department.

There I along with everyone else waited for three hours for my turn to come. A fellow patient saw that I was in great pain, and volunteered to bring me some soft drinks, just like that – a nice and kind man.

The newsreader (pictured) had a telephone appointment and was prescribed Gaviscon-type medication for abdominal pain, but was not given the option of seeing her GP in person because of Covid.

The newsreader (pictured) had a telephone appointment and was prescribed Gaviscon-type medication for abdominal pain, but was not given the option of seeing her GP in person because of Covid.

There were blood tests and a urine sample, and then I was finally examined by a doctor. I told him what the GP had diagnosed.

She said I had more inflammation, and my white blood cell (which help fight infection) count was borderline high too.

But after feeling my stomach she said she didn’t feel any lumps and agreed with the GP that it was gastritis.

No other tests were offered; For example, no ultrasound. Not that I thought of questioning him at that time. I was given more Gaviscon and reassurance, and I went home.

I was not feeling well for the next few days. I went back to work, but only worked a half shift, and then dropped out the next day as well. I felt wiped out and tired, as if I had the flu.

The pain in my stomach returned to normal, the discomfort was getting worse, and I had a bad taste in my mouth.

I went to my local pharmacist, who said if it was gastritis, I should be on proton-pump inhibitor pills (which reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces), and I started taking them .

I tried to convince myself that I was feeling better, even though I began to feel that I was a hypochondriac.

That weekend, I presented a program on BBC1 about the Queen’s Baton Relay, which marks the start of preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The next day I did Six and Ten O’Clock News. I was on the pharmacist’s pills and lots of paracetamol to try to keep the pain under control. But it remained, a constant pain that I carried around.

That weekend, I went to Rome, where I had a meeting with a charity I trust. My husband, Paul, and I decided to cut it short.

For two days, we walked very slowly in that wonderful city, as I could not walk at my normal pace. I had a lot of pain in my stomach.

Now I used to feel nauseous sometimes, and the taste in my mouth was getting worse and worse. I repeatedly told my husband that I was not feeling well, but neither of us thought of a diagnosis of gastritis.

I avoided all acidic foods, drank very little alcohol, and was determined to be exposed to GP surgery upon my return.

After flying to Rome, her abdominal pain intensified, and she passed out in a taxi before being taken to the hospital, where she was told she had appendicitis.

After flying to Rome, her abdominal pain intensified, and she passed out in a taxi before being taken to the hospital, where she was told she had appendicitis.

Ten days after the pain first appeared, we were in a taxi on our way to a charity meeting.

The pain in my stomach intensified that afternoon, and as we reached the entrance to the building, I suddenly knew I was about to pass out. I told my husband something about being in great pain, and then all went blank.

The next thing I knew was his hand on the back of my neck, and his voice calling me from afar. An ambulance was called by the taxi driver, and I was still in unbearable pain.

signs that you should be worried

The role of the appendix remains unknown, although some now believe that it serves as a reservoir for good bacteria.

The symptoms of appendicitis are similar to those of many other conditions – but if you have abdominal pain that gradually gets worse over hours or days, the NHS recommends that you seek medical help immediately to a GP or out-patients. Contact off-hours service. ,

These are signs that your condition may be appendicitis:

  • Pain in the middle of the abdomen around the navel that moves to the lower right side of the abdomen and often gets worse over 24 to 48 hours.
  • The pain intensifies when walking, coughing, laughing or sneezing in that area.
  • feeling generally unwell.
  • loss of appetite.
  • Nausea and sickness.
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Fever and flushing face.
  • Abdominal pain that comes and goes.
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The paramedic laid me down and gently pressed on my stomach. I screamed when she reached the bottom right.

‘Ah,’ she said, ‘appendix’. ‘I hope not,’ she went on, ‘but…

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