CNN anchor Jake Tapper’s 15-year-old daughter revealed that she nearly died last year due to a ruptured appendix, with her illness going misdiagnosed for several days as her skin started turning green. Alice Paul Tapper, writing an op-ed for her father’s employers at CNN, is relaying her experience of a surprisingly common issue. 

The pain got worse and her skin even started turning a pale green as days went on, with mother Jennifer telling CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that she thought Alice was dying. She wrote that around Thanksgiving of last year, she was hospitalized with stomach pains but doctors immediately told her that it wasn’t appendicitis, a condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed and filled with fluid, causing serious pain.

The 15-year-old had drains inserted into her body to get rid of the bacteria, which eventually sent her into hypovolemic shock. She called it ‘the scariest night of my life.’  She recovered, but had to stay in the hospital an extra week after leaving the ICU which what she describes as cramps that left her barely able to walk and ‘uncomfortable drains’ in her body.  

About 12 weeks later, she was finally able to get an appendectomy at a hospital in Jake Tapper’s hometown of Philadelphia. Father Jake said: ‘Appendicitis doesn’t always present a standard way, which means that this specific misdiagnosis happens too often and sometimes to far more tragic results.’

Alice added in her op-ed that ‘despite being the most common surgical emergency in children, appendicitis can be missed in 15 percent of children at initial presentation.’ The reasons for this are because appendicitis can mimic various other ailments, citing research that states ‘up to half of appendicitis patients may not exhibit the classic signs’ of the ailment. 

Alice said that her experience led her to discover that other children have had similar problems and even died, citing a five-year-old English girl named Elspeth Moore.  She added: ‘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.’

Jake described his daughter as ‘stronger and fitter than ever’ on his show The Lead Thursday. The emotional story is actually Alice Tapper’s second op-ed piece in her young life, having penned an essay for the New York Times in 2017 about how she feels girls should be more assertive at school. 

Alice’s parents met during the 2004 presidential election, when her dad was covering politics in ABC’s Washington Bureau, according to the Washington Post.  When they married, Alice’s mother Jennifer Brown was a regional manager for Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC – recruiting, educating and organizing supporters of the organization. 

She’s now is a consultant for non-profits and sits on the board of Population Action International, an NGO that uses research to advocate for global access to family planning and reproductive health care. The family resides in the DC area.


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