Medical professional shares signs to look for after Cedar Rapids 7-year-old has appendix burst

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 4:19 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A second grader in Cedar Rapids returned to school Monday after having his appendix rupture. The scary incident put Levi Boysen in the hospital for the holidays.

“Levi started off with a belly ache which we thought was just you know normal, catch something at school,” said Jeni Boysen, Levi’s mom.

After a few days of persistent belly pain, the family opted to take the 7-year-old to the emergency room.

”It’s hard as a parent because you never want to take your child to the ER for something that’s you know not emergent but we felt like something wasn’t right,” Boysen said.

The family arrived at UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s to find out Levi’s appendix had burst. That’s where doctors removed his appendix.

“We went home that same day and that’s kind of where everything else started,” Boysen explained.

Levi’s pain continued in the days that followed so his family again chose to take him in. This time he was transferred to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“He had abscesses in his body that were areas of infection so he needed IV antibiotics and then he had to have a drain placed into one of the abscesses to kind of help get that infection out of his body,” said Boysen.

Levi returned home on January 2nd.

We talked with a medical professional at UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s about how people can differentiate a stomach ache from an appendix issue.

”Typically it will start with sudden onset pain in the right lower side of the abdomen or it starts around the belly button,” said Jeremy Nelson, a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Department at St. Luke’s.

Nelson said a fever along with the stomach pain can also indicate it’s time to get checked out.

“Some other things to look for. If you’re having pain with walking with any sort of movement like bumpy rides in the car, jumping, if you’re kind of doubled over because the pain hurts so bad and it’s not going away after about half an hour it’s probably a good idea to get that checked out,” said Nelson.

When it comes to going to the ER for stomach pain, Boysen says parents should trust their gut.

“The fact that it wasn’t getting better that was kind of our main indication that something is not right here,” she said.

The family has felt the community support throughout this ordeal. A Go Fund Me has raised $1,200 so far.