In My Doctors Told Me I Had IBS—4 Years Later, I Found Out It Was This Completely Different Disorder, (Prevention.com, July 14, 2017), Kelsey Kloss tells the story of a woman who suffered for years with gastrointestinal problems which were repeatedly misdiagnosed. Theories ranged from irritable bowel syndrome to stress from life changes. It wasn’t until she was 31 years old, that she finally received the diagnosis she needed: pelvic floor dysfunction.
The National Institutes of Health tells us that more than one-third of U.S. women have a pelvic floor disorder and nearly one-quarter of women in the United States have one or more PFDs that cause symptoms. In When stomach pain is more than just pain, gastroenterologist and hepatologist Dr. Rafiul Sameer Islam writes:
A lot of stomach and digestive related issues are identified by the same symptoms — pain and discomfort, abdominal bloating, and diarrhea or constipation… Some of the common stomach problems that we treat include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Although the terms seem similar and may cause confusion, the underlying conditions are very different… In the beginning, IBS and IBD may seem very similar. They both present with common symptoms, but the underlying cause and severity may be very different. IBD tends to produce more intense and focused stomach pain. Nausea, vomiting, fever and chills are more likely to be associated with IBD, as well as unexplained weight loss. The main difference is that IBD is a structural disease, meaning there is actual physical damage done to your digestive system. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common examples.
Gastroenterologists are physicians who provide their patients with medical management of conditions such as gastrointestinal bleeding or inflammatory bowel disease. When an error in diagnosis leads to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, a patient’s condition can become worse, and possibly fatal. Medical malpractice lawsuits may be filed following the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of gastrointestinal conditions. While a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself is not evidence of negligence, the medical standard of care provided is evaluated to determine whether allegations of medical negligence are founded. The gastroenterology expert witness plays a key role in supporting charges of negligence or disputing the validity of those allegations by providing unbiased testimony to the court.