Monthly Medical Minute: Gallbladder Disease

When abdominal pain is more than just a stomach bug

An in-person doctor's visit left this patient with continuing pain and discomfort, so she reached out to United Concierge Medicine for a virtual consult — and within a few hours, received needed labs and the correct diagnosis.

A 39-year-old patient knew that her recurring stomach pain meant something was wrong. Even though she'd already seen her doctor, and he'd said she simply had a stomach bug, she knew something wasn't right. So, when she woke up at 5 a.m. before a big meeting, after vomiting twice and with shaking and chills, she called United Concierge Medicine for help.


The UCM provider she spoke with that morning listened to her symptoms and asked further questions to assess her medical need. He established that the patient had never had surgery, does not drink alcohol, had never experienced acid reflux, and was not in contact with anyone who was sick with the same symptoms. Plus, the patient said, she could only manage a few bites of food before she feels full, and often nauseous. She also said she's lost about 5 pounds in the last few weeks.

The UCM provider asked the patient to describe her pain; in doing so, the patient relayed that is was in her upper right abdomen, and that strangely, she said, the pain would sometimes travel up to her right shoulder.

With an inkling of this patient's diagnosis, the UCM provider worked with our Care Coordinators to formulate an action plan and get the patient the help she needed. Within a couple of hours, the UCM team scheduled an ultrasound and blood tests at a nearby facility of the patient's choice..


The UCM provider advised the ultrasound technician to keep the patient in the waiting room until the radiologist read the images — and within 45 minutes of the ultrasound, a report was sent to the UCM provider showing numerous gallstones without evidence of gallbladder infection. With this information, the patient had a correct diagnosis and was referred to a general surgeon for further evaluation that same week.


Gallbladder disease can be uncomfortable and irritating — and without the correct early diagnosis, can lead to emergency surgery. Fortunately, in this case, the patient was guided through her urgent medical need without an ER visit and without having to be rushed into surgery.

>Find out more about Gallbladder Disease from the Mayo Clinic