Jake Tapper Reveals The Misdiagnosis That Could Have Killed His Daughter

CNN anchor Jake Tapper choked up when he revealed the misdiagnosis that could have killed his teenaged daughter Alice, saying that the access he had to resources as a journalist may have been what ultimately helped her get the right care.

Alice Tapper, 15, was diagnosed with a viral infection when she actually had appendicitis. And after the initial misdiagnosis, her appendix eventually ruptured — turning what could have been a relatively routine procedure into a 12-week ordeal.

“I was so tired, I would sleep through the whole day. My stomach hurt so bad, I’ve never been in that amount of extreme pain before,” Alice said.

Jennifer Tapper, the CNN anchor’s wife and Alice’s mother, said that she hadn’t wanted to think about the possibility but that she was truly scared that she could lose her daughter.

“That was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. The life was just leaving her. I just thought why is her skin so green and why are her hands and feet freezing?” she asked.

Alice explained that she had begun vomiting on a Saturday morning, and when she just didn’t get any better, her parents eventually took her to the hospital. The doctors initially determined that she probably had food poisoning or gastroenteritis.

The Tappers asked whether a sonogram might be warranted, and were told that it wasn’t necessary — but Tapper used his resources to get contact information for the hospital administrator, after which a sonogram was finally ordered. The test revealed that Alice had appendicitis, but that her appendix had already burst and the infected fluids had spilled into her abdominal cavity — which made immediate surgery impossible.

“I had to get two laparoscopic drains at first. And then after they discharged me and sent me home, I went back to the hospital because I still wasn’t feeling better and they had to put another laparoscopic drain. I ended up getting my appendix out 12 weeks later, in March,” Alice added.

Tapper concluded the segment by explaining that he hadn’t come forward with his daughter’s story to attack the doctors or the hospital — but rather because he was aware that it was the resources he had access to that may have ultimately helped doctors to save Alice’s life.

“The average family would not have been able to do that and the average family may have very well lost that child,” he said, adding, “The medical community needs to rethink how they rule out appendicitis … Please do not just say, no, this is viral, do not back into diagnoses — I’m sorry, I’m a little emotional watching that piece.”


My colleague and friend @jaketapper underwent a horrifying ordeal with his daughter Alice. A medical misdiagnosis. He asked me to tell their story as a cautionary tale — one that happens 7 million times a year pic.twitter.com/plt9pnGCf1

— Dr. Sanjay Gupta (@drsanjaygupta) December 16, 2022



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