A Texas woman is glad to be alive after she recovered from a potentially deadly blot clot. The 57 year old woman was walking her dog when he lunged and pulled her down. She suffered a crushed shoulder, broken arm, and cracked ribs. Her shoulder required immediate surgery. After surgery she was seemingly doing well. Her doctor had actually released her to go home. However, she was feeling weak and winded.
It was then that her nurse took action. She immediately requested that the woman’s blood oxygen levels be tested. This test ultimately saved her life. Further testing revealed that she had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung. Untreated, she quite likely would have died. The failure to diagnose a blood clot may happen frequently because the symptoms may not be noticed.
Symptoms of Blood Clots
Blood clots can occur more commonly after surgery. A blood clot may occur anywhere in the body and travel to the lungs causing a life threatening pulmonary embolism. Signs of a pulmonary embolism include:
· Shortness of Breath · Pain in the Chest · Rapid Heart Rate · Unexplained Cough
Sometimes a blood clot begins deep in the leg vein, called deep vein thrombosis. This is a serious medical problem that must be diagnosed quickly. Patients who are at risk for blood clots and those who have undergone major surgery should be examined and tested specifically for this condition.
Awareness of Blood Clots
Most people are not aware of the potential for blood clots nor are they educated in the serious effects they may have. Many patients who suffer from a pulmonary embolism do not survive. The blood clot stops blood flow to the lungs and can quickly cause death. Patients as well as doctors and other medical professionals need to become more aware of the risk of blood clots. Medical tests have advanced so that patients may receive a fast diagnosis. Time is critical because once the blood clot is in the lungs it is more difficult to successfully treat.
Request a VTE Assessment
As in this case, the patient had just a couple of symptoms that could easily have been chalked up to simple fatigue. An immediate oxygen test may be one way to determine if the patient has decreased lung function. A VTE risk assessment should be completed more routinely. VTE, venous thromoembolism, includes both deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. This risk assessment could save lives, especially when symptoms are uncertain.
Failure to Diagnose May Be Medical Malpractice
The misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a serious illness could amount to medical malpractice. The doctor must take the appropriate steps to ensure that the patient has been properly treated. In this case, the doctor failed to diagnose the blood clot. Had it gone untreated and the woman been released from the hospital, the situation would have been much worse. It is important to note that the failure to make a diagnosis or to take appropriate medical action could be the same as making the wrong finding. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious health problem because the doctor failed to make the correct diagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the experienced legal team at Levin & Perconti for a consultation.
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