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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Caused By Negligent Medical Care

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Caused By Negligent Medical Care

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition involving the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis. After formation, the clot can restrict blood flow in the region, causing pain and swelling (usually in the legs). Portions of the clot can also break off from the original formation and travel through the body. In some cases, the mobile portion of the clot (or embolus) lodges in a lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, which causes more than 50,000 deaths per year in the United States.

The typical mechanism of injury and death is blood clots lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which lead to pulmonary embolism, which lead to serious brain injury or death. Any time a person is immobile for an extended period of time, there's a risk of DVT development. Blood pools and then clots in the deep veins of the legs. When a clot dislodges into the bloodstream and blocks blood flow to part of the lung. This condition is described as venous thromboembolism (VTE) A large pulmonary embolism can cause life-threatening low blood oxygen levels and permanent organ damage if not promptly treated.

Post-surgical patients have a higher risk for developing blood clots. So do people who are obese; are smokers; are pregnant; have a family history of blood clots; have been diagnosed with lung disease, heart disease, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); have been diagnosed with cancer; or are taking estrogen-based medications.

Signs and symptoms of DVT include:

• Pain or tenderness in an extremity (arm or leg) unrelated to injury

• Warm-feeling skin in the area

• Redness and swelling in the area

Medical experts recommend being on the lookout for these signs and symptoms after surgery or even after being immobile for an extended car or airplane trip.

Proving Negligence

DVT is not always the result of negligence. A doctor can do everything right, and a patient may still develop DVT.

A patient must prove two things to demonstrate medical negligence:

  1. the appropriate standard of care under the treatment circumstances, and
  2. the breach of the standard of care (what the defendant doctor actually did or failed to do).

What Compensation is Available to Victims of DVT?

The costs of an unexpected injury can be overwhelming. One moment you think you're fine; the next you're racing to the hospital because a blood clot has traveled from your leg to your lungs or brain. Medical bills can add up quickly. You may be forced to miss time at work as you recover. Your injury may even cause a disability and prevent you from returning to work at all. As a result, the financial pressure of your DVT injury can become too much to handle on your own. When someone else is to blame, you shouldn't have to.

At Prime Law Firm, our attorneys will pursue damages on your behalf, including money for:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • Nursing care
  • Lost wages
  • Disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

Contact our office to schedule your free case assessment today. We'll help you understand your rights and decide on the best legal option for your case.

What is the Time Limit for Filing a Deep Vein Thrombosis Claim in Florida?

The right to file a DVT injury lawsuit won't last forever. State Law imposes strict statutes of limitations on all personal injury matters.

Negligence: If your DVT claim is based on negligence, your claim must be filed within four years of an accident.

Medical Malpractice: If your DVT claim is based on medical negligence, your claim must be filed within (a) two years of the malpractice incident or (b) two years of discovering your DVT injury.

You can protect your right to file a lawsuit by contacting an experienced New York personal injury lawyer after an accident. At Prime Law Firm, our attorneys will fight to protect your rights and get you the money you deserve.

Pulmonary Embolism Medical Malpractice

A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage of a blood vessel such as an artery in the lung, caused by a blood clot. In a majority of cases, the clots are small and do not result in any damage. However, if the clot is larger and blocks the flow of blood to the lung, it can cause catastrophic consequences, including death. The hallmark symptoms associated with pulmonary embolism are an acute onset of shortness of breath and a sharp chest pain that worsens upon inspiration (breathing) or coughing. Other symptoms that have been documented include excessive perspiration, lightheadedness or fainting, elevated heart rate or heart palpitations and feelings of anxiety. The clots that eventually get stuck in a blood vessel more often than not do not originate in the lung or even the heart. Instead, they are caused by pieces of clots that break off of a bigger clot in the legs or abdomen and travel up through the body all the way to the lungs.

The sobering truth of PE cases is that the majority of patients who die from pulmonary embolism are patients who are never treated for pulmonary embolism.

But, too often, patients with shortness of breath and other distinct risk factors for PE that read like a billboard end up with a diagnosis of a panic attack, anxiety, or something else less serious.

That seems to be the problem, really, with many misdiagnosis cases. Doctors fail to rule out the worst of the potential problems and then arrive at the less severe diagnosis. It takes time and energy to take the appropriate steps to rule out more serious life-threatening problems. In one study, researchers found just how easy a pulmonary embolism can be to diagnose if the doctors see what is there to be seen.

A chest x-ray might help a physician rule out pulmonary embolism because there are no changes in the blood vessel patterns after embolism and signs of pulmonary infarction. So might a blood test, an electrocardiogram, d-dimer, and ultrasound, pulmonary angiography, lung perfusion scan, or a CT angiogram.

Sometimes the easy answer, "Oh, she's anxious and hyperventilating, there is no need to look any further" leads to failure to accurately diagnose medical malpractice lawsuits.

When a physician, physician assistant (PA), or nurse practitioner (NP) doesn't implement appropriate DVT preventive measures, or fails to diagnose or treat DVT promptly, it may be medical malpractice.

Can a Pulmonary Embolism Be Misdiagnosed?

A pulmonary embolism is something that is frequently misdiagnosed for other more common conditions. The misdiagnosis frequently occurs is hospital emergency room setting where the patient reports symptoms such as chest pain or difficult breathing that are diagnosed as something else without additional testing. Pulmonary embolism is one of the leading causes of preventable death in hospitals.

What Is Pulmonary Embolism Often Mistaken For?

The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are sometimes mistaken for signs of other more common conditions such as lung cancer, pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, myocardial infarction and other cardiopulmonary problems that cause chest discomfort. 

Can a Chest X-Ray Show a Pulmonary Embolism?

Chest x-rays are not an effective means of diagnosing a pulmonary embolism because clots in the blood will not show up on x-ray images. Chest x-rays are still a useful diagnostic tool because they can find or rule out other related conditions such as pneumonia or lung fluid.

What Diagnostic Test Should be Used to Find a Pulmonary Embolism?

The most accurate way to diagnose a pulmonary embolism is with a CT pulmonary angiography. This test is highly accurate, however, it is invasive and very costly to perform. Less invasive methods of diagnosing a PE include:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest x-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI

Do Doctors Frequently Get Sued for Failure to Diagnose Pulmonary Embolism?

Yes. Misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism is a very common type of medical malpractice claims, especially in emergency room situations. A common example is a patient comes to the ER with complaints of abdominal pain and they get diagnosed with an upset stomach or panic attack only to find they have PE.

What Is the Most Common Diagnosis When Misdiagnosing a Pulmonary Embolism?

Yes. Misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism is a very common type of medical malpractice claims, especially in emergency room situations. A common example is a patient comes to the ER with complaints of abdominal pain and they get diagnosed with an upset stomach or panic attack only to find they have PE.

 A pulmonary embolism is one of the common preventable causes of hospital deaths in America. Health care providers are trained to identify risk factors for PE such as: pregnancy, prolonged immobility, hospitalization, major surgery, admission to ICUs, 60 years of age or older, cancer, obesity, smoking, prior history of PE or deep vein thrombosis or other certain medical conditions. Doctors and hospitals typically will prescribe anti-coagulants (blood thinners) as a defense to PE. The use of anticoagulants alone, however, is insufficient to protect all patients from PE. Doctors must monitor patients for signs of developing clots in the legs (known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT). Those signs include pain, swelling, warmth, and redness of calf or thigh – especially if just in one leg.

In order to hold a doctor or hospital liable for medical malpractice in the case where a patient has been injured or died following a PE, a plaintiff typically must show that the doctor failed to appreciate clear signs and symptoms of either DVT or PE and/or failed to timely treat them. This requires a careful analysis of the patient's medical records and recorded complaints or observations noted in their medical chart regarding their condition. Deaths from a pulmonary embolism are often sudden. Despite the suddenness of the ultimate event, these deaths are easily preventable if careful monitoring and treatment is deployed for all at risk patients.