Countless women have shared their stories of misdiagnosis and mistreatment when dealing with serious medical conditions in Malta, with many facing claims of being “dramatic” or “faking it” when raising their concerns.
After a Lovin Malta article detailing a first-hand account, an overwhelming number of women shared their experiences.
The truth is this story is far too common when it really shouldn’t be.
One person, a man, reached out to detail his mother’s battle with misdiagnosis. His mother, who died a few years ago, had gone for a breast screening, and a spot was found on the scan.
The doctors brushed it off as a cold and a chest infection. It later turned out to be lung cancer, but it was too late as it had progressed to stage four.
One woman was told that she was faking her pains as an excuse to get a prescription for the contraceptive pill. It took her five years to get a proper diagnosis, and it was only surgery that confirmed her concerns.
It took another woman seven different gynaecologists before she was diagnosed with PCOS, and none of them wanted to initiate scans for it because her symptoms weren’t the commonly known ones.
She was also called “dramatic” by doctors.
Another was told by her gynaecologist that small cysts on her ovaries was not of concern and was instructed to get another ultrasound in a few months’ time.
Just under two months later, she was in the Netherlands and got very sharp abdominal pains. An MRI was immediately ordered for her, which resulted in a diagnosis of deeply infiltrating endometriosis, Stage 4 (the most advanced stage), and an endometrial cyst of 10cm.
“The question is why my Maltese gynaecologist never even thought about checking for this. I’m pretty disappointed in her missing it completely but very grateful I’m diagnosed now and can get proper treatment,” she said.
Another recounted how she was put on antibiotics and told that she had a kidney infection or kidney stones.
“I thank god that I decided to go for an ultrasound and was told that I have endometriosis, and a cyst on my left and right ovary,” she said.
Too many women simply said, “the exact same story happened to me!”
So what should we take from all of this?
On the surface, it would appear that women’s health is sometimes not taken seriously, and appropriate testing needs to be ordered or at least made mandatory.
Doctors, much like everyone else, can make mistakes despite their amazing work. This is why patients, cannot regard their word as godly, but rather conduct their own research and insist on tests if need be.
Such stories should not be so common, in any way whatsoever.
All experiences mentioned are anonymous and consent was asked for each one. If you have had any similar experiences that you would like to discuss, you can reach out at [email protected]
Have you experienced something similar?