Death from Blood Clots in the Lungs (Pulmonary Embolism) can happen with Misdiagnosis & Medical Malpractice

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 100,000 Americans die every year of a pulmonary embolism (PE). For about one-quarter of these people, sudden death is the first symptom that they have a PE. Up to another third die within one month of diagnosis. It is essential that a possible pulmonary embolism be promptly and correctly diagnosed and treated, or the result is highly likely to be permanent heart damage, brain damage or death. When medical mistakes cause a disastrous outcome from pulmonary embolism, Marjorie Chalfant, RN, JD (The Nurse Attorney, PLLC) in Lakewood Ranch, Florida fights to hold the negligent doctor, radiologist or hospital accountable for their negligence. As an experienced trial attorney who has the combined experience as a former critical care nurse, nurse-attorney Marjorie Chalfant has extensive experience with winning blood clot malpractice cases.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism (“PE”)?

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lungs. Most often, a PE starts off as a blood clot in the legs. This type of blood clot is typically referred to as a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. A DVT can form if a person is sitting or immobilized for too long in one position, allowing blood to pool and coagulate (clot) in a certain area. The danger of a DVT is that the clot will break free from its position in the legs and travel through the blood stream into the lungs and the pulmonary artery, becoming a pulmonary embolism. Once there, the PE is likely to block the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart or brain, causing permanent heart damage, brain damage or death. Permanent damage or death can occur from a single large clot or from many smaller clots.

Hospitals should know better

It is well known to medical professionals that a DVT can form when a person is immobilized for too long. One of the most common situations for a person to be rendered immobile is after having a surgery. It is astonishing to learn that many DVTs and PEs form in hospitals after surgery. There are many steps hospitals and staff can take to prevent a DVT from forming in their post-operative patients. One solution is to prescribe anticoagulants or blood thinners to prevent the formation of a clot, but this course of action is not always recommended when it would cause excessive bleeding to the patient. Another alternative is to get the patient out of bed and walking as soon as possible after a surgery. At the very least, hospital patients and nursing home residents who cannot move themselves should be shifted or turned several times a day to prevent a DVT or pressure ulcer (bedsore) from forming. Failure to prevent a DVT or PE from forming in the hospital may be malpractice.

Prompt and accurate diagnosis is key

Brain damage and death from a PE often occur because the PE was not properly diagnosed. Symptoms of a PE may include coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath, but these symptoms can indicate other diseases or conditions as well as PE, such as an upper respiratory infection (bronchitis), anemia, emphysema or COPD. An EKG or chest x-ray may not catch the presence of a PE; a spiral CT is a much better diagnostic tool for diagnosing PE. If testing has not identified the source of the symptoms, failing to order a spiral CT to rule out the differential diagnosis of PE may be malpractice. Sometimes, even when a spiral CT is performed, the radiologist may be negligent if the results are not interpreted correctly.

Nurse-Attorney Marjorie Chalfant knows the medicine behind PE, and she knows the law for medical malpractice cases.  When an injury or death caused by PE is the result of medical negligence, Marjorie Chalfant has the knowledge and experience to successfully represent victims of malpractice.

Immediate Help is Available for Pulmonary Embolism Malpractice

If you have suffered a serious injury from a pulmonary embolism, or if you lost a loved one to a misdiagnosed or undiagnosed PE, contact The Nurse Attorney, PLLC in Lakewood Ranch, Florida for a free consultation.