Diagnostic delays for endometriosis can occur as many of the symptoms are very similar to other common medical conditions.
During 2018 and 2019, there were 24 incidents reported to the MDU (a medical defence organisation) which involved endometriosis. A common factor in these incidents involved a complaint or claim following an allegation of a missed or delayed diagnosis. A delayed diagnosis can lead to prolonged pain and suffering and may cause other physical and psychological problems for the patient, such as infertility, anxiety and depression.
Failure to diagnose endometriosis or a delay in diagnosis is not necessarily negligent, but a claimant may have a case if they can demonstrate that a doctor's management fell below the expected standard - for example, by not adequately examining the patient, or by not considering the diagnosis when a patient presents with those signs and symptoms as described in the NICE guidance. MDU offers advice in this blog to help reduce the risk of a delayed or missed diagnosis of endometriosis.