On May 26, Caroline Ballard was rushed to West Middlesex Hospital in England after she began experiencing extreme pain. Upon X-raying the 26-year-old graphic designer’s abdomen, doctors suggested she needed to empty her bowels and discharged her. Ballard's medical woes were far from over, though.
At the time, Ballard’s mother suggested that her daughter’s pain could be caused by endometriosis, a condition where uterine cells are found outside the womb, causing inflammation and pain and can lead to complications like infertility, fatigue and bowel problems. There was a history of the disease in the family, but Ballard told Mirror.co.uk that a doctor responded she would be “rolling around on the floor in agony were that the case.”
Days later, Ballard was admitted to the hospital for emergency survey to remove several ovarian cysts caused by endometriosis. The largest cyst was the size of a grapefruit and her ordeal isn’t over yet - she requires even more treatment.
“I have lost all my trust and faith in the NHS. I want to raise awareness about endometriosis. It affects one in 10 women and yet doctors don't know a thing about it and misdiagnose patients,” Ballard told Get West London. "That doctor I saw in A&E point-blank ruled out a cyst just because I was not rolling around on the floor. She delayed treatment, and what annoys me the most is that she told me it was just a poo.”
Jane Hudson Jones, chief executive of the charity Endometriosis UK, said stories like Ballard’s are not uncommon.
“Endometriosis is as common as diabetes and asthma in women; it is incurable and life changing," Jones said. "In spite of this, little is known about the disease and so diagnosis takes, on average, eight years.
"During this time the disease can progress, and rob women of their careers, relationships and fertility.”
The hospital wouldn’t comment on Ballard’s experience, but said they were investigating the matter.
Photo Credit: Get West London