Empowering women in cases of medical malpractice

Errors in medical treatment are common, and are now recognised as the third largest cause of death in the US.

Although the improper treatment and misdiagnosis of health issues affecting women around the world has been more conspicuous in recent years, with a more widespread acknowledgement of a gender bias in healthcare, it is still important for women to challenge incidents of medical negligence. 

Being aware of their legal rights, joining forces with other women to hold companies to account, and speaking up about under-diagnosed conditions, can all help to reduce the risk of medical malpractice for women, and the pain and suffering it can cause. 

Reducing birth-related injuries 

Despite the World Health Organization’s advocating that all women should have the right to a positive childbirth experience, giving birth can be traumatic for many women. The majority of births occur without long-term complications; however, adverse events can lead to birth-related injuries in infants such as fractures, haemorrhaging, and spinal damage.

These are sometimes due to the negligence of medical professionals, and if it can be proved that the care given was inappropriate or unnecessarily delayed, a malpractice case can be brought.

To help reduce the risk of birth trauma, it’s important to ensure that women are aware of their rights when giving birth, so that they are in a better position to ask questions about their treatment and give informed consent to any medical intervention. 

Challenging misleading corporations

In Australia, manufacturers have recently lost an appeal against a ruling that they had misled both patients and doctors about the risks associated with pelvic mesh implants. The implants have been used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

In an out of court settlement, a group of women in the UK who also experienced complications following insertion of the mesh have already received compensation, following similar pay-outs for misleading marketing in the United States. Filing class action lawsuits like these is an efficient and cost-effective way for similarly affected people to successfully challenge large corporations.

Improving the diagnosis of endometriosis

Around one in 10 women in the world are affected by endometriosis, but because it is often difficult to detect, many women live with it for years before receiving the treatment they so desperately need. The condition occurs when the uterine wall lining grows outside of the womb, causing pain and cramping in the abdomen.

Women with endometriosis can wait up to 10 years before receiving an appropriate diagnosis, and in the meantime, the condition is often misdiagnosed as fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease or irritable bowel syndrome.

In the UK last year, a survey by the BBC prompted a government inquiry into the condition, and organisations like the Endometriosis Foundation of America campaign to increase awareness of the disease in order to help more women receive an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

With the prevalence of medical errors, it is becoming increasingly important for women to make informed choices about their treatment. Everyone should feel supported in the event of any problems with their medical care.