Blood clots and other coronary conditions can cause the rapid deterioration of a patient’s health and potentially result in sudden death. Physicians, nurses, EMS personnel, and all members of the medical profession have a duty of care to monitor and protect their patients from these risks. This includes administering the proper therapies and medications capable of protecting patients from thromboembolisms and pulmonary embolisms.
Understanding Deep Venous Thrombosis
Deep venous thrombosis are blood clots that develop within the veins of the legs or the pelvis. These clots block the flow of blood through the circulatory system which causes significant pressure to build up within the veins. As the pressure builds, the blood clot can break free and travel through the bloodstream. If it travels to the lungs, it causes a pulmonary embolism.
It is estimated that up to 100,000 Americans die each year as the result of either deep venous thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism. This is approximately one in every ten people who develop these conditions. For nearly 1/4 of individuals, the first symptom of these conditions is sudden death. Of those who survive the condition, nearly half will experience long-term complications and require continued care to prevent the condition from worsening. Moreover, nearly 1/3 can expect to have a recurrence of the condition within a decade after the initial instance.
Types of Malpractice Involving Thrombosis and Embolisms
Failure to diagnose and treat is the most common cause of medical malpractice involving thrombosis and embolisms. Other causes include failure to properly administer prophylactic anticoagulation agents in the hospital, failure to provide prophylactic anticoagulation medications after discharge, and premature discontinuation of anticoagulation therapies.
These are deadly failures and nearly all patients who die of pulmonary embolisms can attribute their death to one or more of these negligent actions. Physicians have a responsibility to properly screen patients for risk factors including cancer, smoking history, pregnancy, hormone therapy, damage to blood vessels, etc.
Physicians, EMS crews, etc., examining patients have a responsibility to accurately assess a patient’s current symptoms. Signs of pulmonary embolism include loss of breath, excessive sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness, low blood pressure, chest/back pains, and accelerated pulse. When these are presents, members of the medical community should confirm whether these symptoms are caused by a blood clot. Often, members of the medical community fail to correctly diagnose their patients because they fail to thoroughly assess the individual’s current symptoms and risk factors for deep venous thrombosis.