Blood Clot Misdiagnosis
What is a Blood Clot?
When your body senses a cut, it reacts by forming a blood clot. A blood clot is group of blood cells that formed a small plug in your blood in order to stop bleeding. Blood clots are necessary for quickly stopping the flow of blood when an injury occurs; however, when blood clots unknowingly form inside of the body, they can cause dangerous health conditions including heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary emboli, and more.
What Causes Abnormal Blood Clots?
There are many causes of blood clots, such as injuries, disruptions of blood flow, injury to the blood vessels, surgeries, changes in blood composition, or a person’s lifestyle. Blood clots can have serious medical consequences; and, when medical malpractice or negligence prevents prompt diagnosis and treatment, they often become even more serious.
Abnormal blood clot conditions include but are not limited to:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in one or more deep veins in the leg and can cause serious damage. Some symptoms of DVT include swelling in the leg, pain in the leg, red or discolored skin, or a feeling of warmth along the swollen leg. Sometimes it does not show at all to the naked eye. When a DVT goes undiagnosed, it can lead to pulmonary embolism or post-thrombotic syndrome.
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE) – A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot forms in the lungs, which is especially dangerous because it can lead to long-term damage and death. Many PE’s occur when a DVT goes undiagnosed. Symptoms of a PE include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, fainting, having a rapid pulse, and coughing up blood.
- Faulty Blood Clot Filter – To treat DVT, doctors often surgically implant a medical device called a blood clot filter; however, if the patient experiences device failure, serious consequences result. Additionally, blood clot filters removed too early or too late increase the chances of harmful injuries.
- Birth Control – The FDA has warned that drospirenone – an ingredient in many birth control pills – increases the chances of its users developing blood clots. These blood clots can cause a potentially life-threatening pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
- Prescription Medication Error – When a patient suffers from a blood clot, doctors prescribe certain medications. Some of these medications, like Xarelto, can actually cause blood clots if patients stop taking them abruptly. Other medications can interfere with blood clotting, such as Eliquis, Coumadin, Pradaxa, Savaysa, Heparin, and other blood thinners.
- Surgical Complications – Blood clots can be a complication of surgery, especially orthopedic surgeries where mobility is restricted. As you are recovering from surgery, you’re usually lying down and resting for long periods of time. When you do not move as much, blood flows a bit slower through your deep veins, which can lead to a blood clot. Post-operative blood clots cause sudden, increased swelling as well as pain. You are more likely to get a blood clot between 2 – 10 days after a surgery.
Who is at Risk?
Blood clots can form unexpectedly, and can affect anyone at any age; however, some people may be at a higher risk. You may be at increased risk of blood clots if you:
- Are overweight
- Are a smoker
- Are over the age of 60
- Take oral contraceptives
- Have chronic inflammatory disease
- Have atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation
- Have congestive heart failure
- Have cirrhosis
- Have cancer
- Have fractures in your lower extremities
- Are pregnant
- Have a history of blood clotting disorders
- Are unable to walk
- Travel frequently via plane
Blood Clot Complications
Misdiagnosed blood clots put patients at an extreme risk. Patients can suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries when a misdiagnosed blood clot travels through the body and into the heart, lungs, or brain. Blood clots can block the flow of blood to vital organs, causing damage or tissue death. When a blood clot forms in one or more arteries in the heart or travels to the heart from a different area of the body, it can block the blood flow to part of the heart muscle. This reduces or completely cuts off the oxygen supply to the cells in that area of the heart; and, as those cells die, a heart attack occurs. Blood clots that travel to the brain – also known as having a stroke – can cause paralysis and even death. Clots that form in the eye can cause sudden and permanent blindness.
Most people do not know that much about blood clots and may not be familiar with the signs and symptoms until something happens to them or someone they know. DVT and PE share similar symptoms with other health problems and can easily be misdiagnosed by medical professionals. A misdiagnosis can lead to delayed treatment of a DVT, resulting in a PE or even death.
Experienced Philadelphia Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or someone you love suffered an injury or death as the result of a misdiagnosed blood clot in Philadelphia, you may be able to file a legal claim for financial compensation. Call the experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.