Are woman more likely to suffer a delay in diagnosis?

Waiting roomDelays in diagnosis can result in a patient requiring more treatment than they would otherwise have needed, and in extreme cases could lead to death.

It is therefore extremely concerning for patients when these delays happen, and also for the NHS as these delays could result in delayed diagnosis claims being made against the relevant NHS trust.

Women more likely to suffer a delayed diagnosis

A research paper from 2001 supports the theory that medical professionals around the world are more likely to attribute women’s physical symptoms to being in the mind. Almost half of the women diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, have had the experience of being called a hypochondriac by their doctor.

Delay in diagnosis of endometriosis

Symptoms of endometriosis are very general including sleep problems, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, lower back pain, pain during sex, bloating and period pain with heavy bleeding, but in many cases can be mistaken for depression or have the patient classified as “difficult”.
If endometriosis is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, it can lead to infertility, which could potentially have a significant impact on a young woman yet to start a family.

The paper looks into the history of medicine and suggests that particularly in the Victorian age woman were quite often diagnosed with mental health issues instead of a physical condition, due in part to less knowledge about the female anatomy. It is suggested this attitude is still prevalent around the world, with women’s pain being written off as a mental health issue.

Claims for delays in diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosed conditions can cause any number of complications in your medical care from undergoing additional treatment or surgery, to mental health suffering, and where the delay results in the failure to detect a life-threatening condition, can even result in death. For any delayed diagnosis claim, we recommend having a chat with a medical negligence solicitor so they can advise you on the likelihood of being able to make a successful claim.

Blackwater Law offer free initial advice to anyone who thinks they may have experienced medical care for which they could make a medical negligence claim, so contact us today.

Zoe Diss
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