The failure to diagnose Endometriosis | Davis Blank Furniss
Kate

Endometriosis is a very significant problem and one that myself and my colleagues in the Medical Negligence team are hearing more about from our clients. The government has recently commissioned an in-depth review and published a report setting out the findings. Endometriosis is the name given to the condition where cells similar to ones lining the womb are found elsewhere in the body. Each month these cells react in the same way to those lining the womb and they begin to bleed.  Unlike the cells lining the womb, that can leave the body as a period, this blood sadly has no way of escape. This leads to inflammation and pain. It is a chronic and sometimes debilitating condition. The majority of endometriosis is found in the pelvic cavity, but for a very unlucky 10% of those suffering with the disease, it can occur anywhere else in the body such as the chest cavity.

It is, however, short-sighted to believe that this is just a woman’s problem.  The report concludes that endometriosis costs the UK economy £8.2 billion per year in treatment, loss of work and healthcare costs.  The report is based on a survey which received over 10,000 responses from those living with a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis.  The following points are particularly hard-hitting:

~ There is an average of eight years’ delay in diagnosis

~ 81% of those responding confirmed that endometriosis had impacted upon their mental health negatively

~ 21% visited their GP or hospital 10 times or more with no diagnosis

~ 46% found their GP unhelpful

~ Only 19% were seen in an endometriosis specialist centre

~ 58% would have liked fertility supported treatment but were not offered it despite endometriosis doubling the risk of infertility

Unfortunately, it is now accepted that women with this condition have been badly let down.  Menstruation itself is a sensitive issue and there is a taboo about the subject of periods.  There is little investment in general in women’s health problems.  It is difficult to believe that we are unaware of the cause of endometriosis and there is no cure.  Furthermore, the only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is by keyhole surgery. This is a very intrusive procedure which involves a general anaesthetic and a camera being inserted through the abdomen and a biopsy of tissue taken.

The government findings are that although NICE guidelines on endometriosis were issued in 2017 they are simply not being implemented. Symptoms are not being recognised and are often attributed to other conditions.  Some medical practitioners even try and tell the patient that her condition is “normal”.   As a result, there are lengthy diagnosis times and lack of understanding.

Sadly access to healthcare professionals who specialise in endometriosis is limited and is often a postcode lottery. Many patients are mis-diagnosed and are sent to colorectal, gastroenterology and even sexually transmitted disease clinics to investigate their symptoms. The report calls for more professional awareness of endometriosis.

In the interim we all, including the men amongst us, need to be more educated.  Symptoms need to be recognised and treated. Endometriosis should be suspected if one or more of the following symptoms occur: –

~ Chronic pelvic pain

~ Period-related pain affecting daily activities and quality of life

~ Deep pain during or after sexual intercourse

~ Period-related painful bowel movements

~ Period-related blood in the urine or pain in passing urine

~ Infertility in association with one or more of the above.

Where do we go from here?

The  government report suggests:

~ There needs to be specialised centres where patients with symptoms can go

~ Endometriosis training at medical schools should be reviewed and improved

~ Support should be given to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist and the Royal College of General Practitioners

~ The public should be aware of the symptoms of endometriosis, other menstrual conditions and when to seek help

It is hoped that with the publication of this report and increased training and awareness that women are no longer being ignored, dismissed or told that pelvic pain is normal or even “in your head”.  This must become a thing of the past.

For more information, please do contact me here.

 

Testimonials

Read what our clients have to say...

View All

Excellent experience start to finish – always very responsive to any queries and the turnaround on the property I was buying was very quick, even in the busy time leading up to stamp duty deadline. Jenny was always very helpful and went above and beyond to close on a short timescale.

Ben Armitage

“Very approachable, practical solutions to problems, but most of all very responsive which I personally think is very important because if you need help, you need it quickly, or at least to know someone is looking at it for you”.

Joanne Rowe, Finance Director, Greater Manchester Chamber

“Always able to contact, very approachable, friendly and professional”

Nives Feely, JAM Recruitment

“I believe I have been able to establish a professional working relationship with everyone I have come into contact. Importantly, I sense the relationships which have been established give me the confidence that I can make contact with Davis Blank Furniss at any time and on any matter. I would also like to express my thanks to the very impressive “gatekeepers” who work in reception, not only for making me very welcome, but also for their professionalism”

Bill Pryke, CEO, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors

“Thank you for your efficient and friendly help throughout this process. We have had it easy but your approach has been part of that”.

Robert Amsbury (Conveyancing Client)

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the ongoing support and assistance the firm has offered to our parents over the years. I hope also that we may be able to call on you if necessary in the future.”

Valerie Fisher (Probate Client)

“Jo always provides great service, understands our needs and delivers on her promises. Our needs are relatively simple but the complexity arises out of the volume of work and short time frames, Jo always delivers.”

Peter Fernandez, Corporate Director at Royal Bank of Scotland

“A big thank you to all who dealt with my wife’s claim… We would not hesitate to recommend Davis Blank Furniss to anyone that may be in a situation like we have been…”

Anon (Personal Injury client)

“Before putting my case in Kirsty (Morbey)’s capable hands I’ve met a couple of other solicitors. None of them listen to me as intently as Kirsty and showed me as much empathy and understanding as she did. Simultaneously she was able to look at my case from legal perspective, explain all the options and follow each of our meetings with written summary of the discussed matters (in timely manner). Her advice was invaluable and led me to successfully ending the case matter (hopeful for good). I’m forever grateful for he work and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for reliable, knowledgeable and committed solicitor”.

Anon (Family client)
5 star service

Our Manchester office is rated 5 stars on Google