Endometriosis is a disease afflicting many women in the United States. Endometriosis occurs when the cells like those that line a woman’s uterus grow as cysts and lesions outside of the uterus. These lesions can ultimately start growing into other organs. It is a painful and debilitating condition that is often misdiagnosed, causing the woman to suffer for many years with no medical relief.
How is endometriosis misdiagnosed?
Endometriosis is often misdiagnosed even by gynecologists as fibroids, food allergies, gastrointestinal disease or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Unfortunately, treatments for these conditions will not help those who are suffering from endometriosis. One study reports it can take as many as 10 years for a woman to be correctly diagnosed with endometriosis.
Sadly, for many years, physicians simply dismissed a woman’s menstrual pain as a normal bodily function. Some physicians believed the woman was exaggerating how painful her periods were. This would lead to an endometriosis misdiagnosis.
Physicians are also often taught the wrong information in medical school about endometriosis. Physicians may be misinformed on the color that endometriosis lesions can appear on scans. Physicians may not be taught that a biopsy can definitively diagnose endometriosis. This can lead to an endometriosis misdiagnosis.
What can I do if my endometriosis is misdiagnosed?
Women who receive a misdiagnosis regarding their endometriosis can suffer further pain that affects every aspect of their life. They may miss a lot of work due to the pain or even be unable to hold down a job altogether. They may incur significant medical bills trying to get a correct diagnosis.
When a misdiagnosis is caused by physician negligence, it might be possible to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. Negligence occurs when a physician fails to exercise the same level of care as a reasonably competent physician would under similar circumstances. A patient must suffer harm, such as a worsened condition or additional treatment costs, due to the physician’s negligence.
Prevailing in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be difficult. Still, it is better to fight for what you are owed, and it is essential to hold negligent physicians responsible for the damages they cause when they misdiagnose a patient.