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Endometriosis Medical Negligence: Seeking Justice for Inadequate Care

Currently affecting upwards of 830,000 Australian women, endometriosis is a serious condition that, unfortunately, is oftentimes worsened due to medical negligence.

While there’s no one cure for endometriosis, there are treatment golden standards and obligations that medical professionals have the duty to adhere to. If you believe a professional has breached their duty of care in managing your endometriosis, you may be eligible for compensation.

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Understanding Endometriosis Medical Negligence

All medical practitioners have a duty of care to provide prudent and competent care for their patients, in alignment with treatment best practices — a breach of this duty is considered medical negligence, or in the instance of the professional displaying malicious intent: medical malpractice.

The process of proving medical negligence is three-fold:

  1. Identifying that the professional owed a duty of care.
  2. Establishing that this duty of care was breached through substandard, negligent and/or incompetent actions.
  3. Demonstrating that this breach directly caused harm.

In the context of endometriosis, it’s a matter of proving that the medical professional’s incompetent actions — or lack of prudent actions thereof — directly caused symptoms to worsen.

The expectations of medical professionals in treating endometriosis

The way endometriosis is treated may depend on the patient’s symptoms, the severity of their conditions, reproductive intentions and overall health status. Yet in general, the ‘golden standard’ of endometriosis diagnosis and treatment is as follows.

Endometriosis is generally diagnosed via laparoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure during which a thin tube — called a laparoscope — is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen. This procedure allows the medical professional to examine the pelvic organ and tissues for any signs of endometrial tissue growth outside the uterus.

In the case of a diagnosis: Treating endometriosis involves the risks of damaging adjacent organs — the uterus, ovaries and bowel — during surgical intervention. This is because the abnormal endometrial growths may be intertwined with these bodily parts. While the rate of complications can be high, risk can and should be reduced by carrying out the following measures and procedures:

  • Clear and informed consent by the patient.
  • Pre-op preparation of having the bowel emptied — usually through an enema.
  • Pre-op splinting to reduce risk to the uterus.

Furthermore, the Bowel Surgeon and Urologist should be on standby throughout the surgical procedure to assist as needed. The Laparoscopic Surgeon needs to have advanced, specialised qualifications — without which, the surgeon is not accredited to operate on advanced endometriosis cases. Toward the end of the procedure, a cystoscopy should be done to ensure there has been no bladder damage or haematuria (blood in the urine).

Following these treatment best practices significantly reduces the various risks associated with endometriosis treatment. If your practitioner has failed to adhere to best practices, adequately inform you of the risks and/or perform the care necessary to avoid complications — and you’ve suffered harm as a result — you likely have grounds for a medical negligence claim.

Have you experienced negligent endometriosis treatment?

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Endometriosis compensation claims

A medical practitioner’s duty of care breach may result in financial, physical and psychological harm — each is compensable and is categorised as economic and non-economic loss:

Economic loss: This refers to any financial loss the claimant has suffered due to the medical professional’s breach of care. This can include various types of expenses, including the costs of medicines, surgical procedures, physiotherapy and other treatment-related costs. Economic loss may also encompass the loss of current and future earning potential, and such matters are considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Non-economic loss: This refers to the psychological harm — also called ‘pain and suffering’ — incurred as a result of medical negligence. Each Australian state has its own legislative measures for qualifying pain and suffering, each typically considering the severity of the mental impairment, the impact of the injury on the claimant’s quality of life and precedent, among other considerations. 

Endometriosis medical negligence not only comes with immediate risk but also can have far-reaching consequences for a person’s overall well-being. Depending on the case, the long-term impact of endometriosis medical negligence may involve fertility concerns, prolonged chronic pain and a decline in the person’s day-to-day functioning. 

While endometriosis claims consider both the immediate and long-term implications and provide compensation accordingly, it’s necessary to have expert legal representation on your side to ensure that your rights are properly protected and you receive the rightful compensation you deserve. 

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The endometriosis medical negligence claims process

Endometriosis claims can be complex, requiring both legal and medical expertise and insight to ensure the claimant’s rights are sufficiently upheld. While your lawyer will advise you at each stage of the process on the best course of action, here is a general overview of what you can expect throughout the claims process. 

What to do if you have suffered from medical negligence

The first step is to gather any evidence possible that points toward your symptoms worsening at the hands of medical negligence. Forms of evidence may include medical records, diagnostic reports and financial records, among others. 

Naturally, you likely won’t be able to obtain all necessary evidence yourself — your lawyer will work with you to gather the additional necessary information. Hence, the next step is to book a consultation with a medical negligence claims lawyer who can provide you with personalised advice and determine the strength of your claim based on the evidence you’ve gathered. 

Your lawyer — as facilitated by no-win, no-fee policies — will help you to gather evidence that otherwise may have been difficult to attain, either for financial or access reasons. Such evidence may include:

  • An expert third-party medical opinion, generally from a practitioner who specialises in endometriosis or a related field. 
  • Laboratory and test results that otherwise may have been withheld or unnoticed. 
  • Surveillance footage that would display the potential negligence. 
  • Witness statements from staff or other patients who may have been aware of the negligence. 

Depending on the nature of your case, the advice of your solicitor and your own preferences in light of their insight, your case may progress either to a private settlement or litigation (the process of bringing your case before the court). Notably, most medical negligence cases are settled outside of court — with certain states requiring private settlement efforts prior to being brought before the courts.  

Private settlements are generally facilitated through mediation wherein a neutral third party examines the facts  and makes compensation decisions accordingly — considering the side of all involved parties. Litigation, in contrast, tends to be more costly and lengthy compared to mediation, and may entail additional emotional strain.

GMP Law can help

It’s normal to feel uneasy about the idea of pursuing legal action — however GMP Law can help make the process as simple as possible, working to get you the compensation you’re rightfully entitled to. 

Our team of expert medical negligence lawyers can provide you with the necessary legal advice and representation to help ensure a positive outcome for your case — consider, for example, this recent case of ours:

Our client’s post-endometriosis-surgery CT scan showed peritoneal gas and fluid. A laparotomy was also performed, showing moderate small bowel spillage from a perforation. GMP Law’s medical negligence lawyer, Mr. Recep Ayas, was able to identify that the bowel perforation was caused by a clumsy division of bowel adhesions during the surgery. Due to the injuries sustained and the surgeon deviating from the consented plan, our client was able to obtain 400K in damages — accounting for financial, physical and psychological harm incurred.

If you share a similar story with the client, where either your endometriosis symptoms have worsened due to medical negligence or an unrelated injury has occurred through the intervention measures, let our team know. 

Book a free consultation with one of our medical negligence solicitors who can provide you with obligation-free legal advice. 

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About Us
Gerard Malouf & Partners have provided friendly, experienced legal advice to communities across Australia for over 35 years. Our Personal Injury Lawyers have taken on ten’s of thousands of cases and we are proud to have won billions of dollars for our clients.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.
Meet the diverse and dynamic team of compensation lawyers and supporting staff that have made this all happen below. Our multi-lingual team can discuss your claims in Arabic, Assyrian, Turkish, Greek, Italian, French, Serbian, Croatian, Armenian, Mandarin, Hindi, Punjabi or Malayalam.

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