Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism Require Investigation

by | Nov 4, 2016 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice |

The Cleveland medical malpractice law firm of The Lancione Law Firm, is dedicated to improving the quality and safety of medical care for patients throughout Ohio. We have three generations of attorneys who have represented victims of malpractice and have a record of success in cases involving negligent treatment of serious conditions.When a patient has difficulty breathing, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, cough, lightheadedness, anxiety or profuse sweating, one of the first steps a competent physician should do is conduct a differential diagnosis in order to rule out a life-threatening condition like pulmonary embolism.Even when pulmonary embolism is properly diagnosed, serious or fatal medical mistakes may still occur. If emergency room doctors or primary care physicians fail to follow standard procedures for the treatment of pulmonary embolism, they may be considered negligent.

Examples of negligent treatment of pulmonary embolism may include:

  • Failure to recognize and treat the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a primary cause of pulmonary embolism
  • Failure to take risk factors into account, such as patient’s use of birth control pills or a family history of coagulopathy (abnormal clotting)
  • Failure to take precautions to prevent pulmonary embolism following abdominal surgery or childbirth (particularly childbirth by Cesarean section)
  • Failure to administer anticoagulants, when indicated
  • Failure to use an IVC (interior vena cava filter) when anticoagulants are contraindicated
  • Any misdiagnosis or negligent treatment of pulmonary embolism resulting in serious or permanent injury or death

If you or a loved one suffered needlessly due to the negligent treatment of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, we encourage you to contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer immediately for guidance regarding your rights and options.

Studies Reveal That Misdiagnosis Of Pulmonary Embolisms Is Common

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage that develops in an artery in the lungs. It occurs when a blood clot moves through the blood stream and eventually becomes lodged in an artery. In normal cases, embolisms are easily diagnosed and treated with anti-clotting medicine. However, a recent studies indicate that mismanagement of pulmonary embolism diagnoses is much more common than it should be.

The studies – published in the Annals of Internal Medicine – found that physicians often withhold anti-coagulant treatment of suspected pulmonary embolisms when initial tests rule it out. However, even if initial tests are negative, guidelines call for additional testing or treatment because false negatives are fairly common. One study indicated that 43 percent of pulmonary embolism cases were mismanaged according to these guidelines. Misdiagnosis of a pulmonary embolism led to a six-times-higher risk of a thromboembolic event.

A second study sought to create a new clinical prediction test for risk of pulmonary embolisms in patients. The new test uses new diagnostic criteria to predict those at highest risk. The hope is that doctors will use the test and follow new strict guidelines for diagnoses. Closely following the procedures will help to minimize misdiagnoses of pulmonary embolisms as well as the risk for secondary thromboembolic events.

Was Your Pulmonary Embolism Preventable?

There are many stages at which pulmonary embolism and thrombosis ought to be recognized by medical professionals. When the signs of the condition are misinterpreted or minimized by medical staff as stress or a less serious condition, the delay can be lethal. If you or a family member has been affected by pulmonary embolism resulting in death or serious injury, and you feel a medical professional should have recognized the symptoms, medical negligence may be at fault. You should consult a competent medical malpractice attorney to advise you on your situation.




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