Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Firm: Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary embolism is a leading cause of hospital deaths and your doctor is responsible for diagnosing this condition and taking precautionary steps to prevent it. Pulmonary embolism is a common and sometimes lethal condition that affects all age groups. It occurs when an artery in your lung becomes blocked by a blood clot, preventing the exchange of gases necessary for survival. This often happens to patients in hospitals when they have to be immobilized for a period of time. In most cases, blood clots travel to the lungs from another part of the body to form a blockage. Capable doctors are able to identify the symptoms of pulmonary embolism such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain, swelling, leg pain, a bad cough, coughing up blood, dizziness or loss of consciousness.
Pulmonary embolism is often caused by deep venous thrombosis, in which a blood clot blocks a deep vein. DVT can be diagnosed by various tests. Unfortunately, these precautions are not always taken and the results can be fatal.
The American College of Chest Physicians has spent a great deal of time in studying deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. They have done so because of the recognition that when a pulmonary embolism does occur, it can lead to death. As a consequence, the American College of Chest Physicians mandates that all patients admitted to the hospital undergo a risk stratification for deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. According to the American College of Chest Physicians, patients are either at a low, moderate or high risk for DVT and pulmonary embolism. Depending upon what category the patient is placed into, patients should be given preventative measures in order to reduce the risk of this condition. These preventive measures include using anticoagulants such a Heparin and Coumadin. Other measures are the use of graduated compression stockings that steadily squeeze the patient's legs, helping the veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently so that clotting does not occur. The use of compression stockings in combination with medication is much more effective in preventing deep venous thrombosis. In addition, elastic stockings, also known at TED hose can be used in order to compress the veins.
Pneumatic compression stockings are also often used. This form of stocking uses high-high or calf-high cuffs that automatically inflate every few minutes in order to massage and squeeze veins in the legs. Pneumatic compression can drastically decrease the risk of blood clots, which cause pulmonary embolism.
Last but not least, patients are encouraged to engage in physical activity, particularly after surgical procedures in order to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs. This is the reason why nurses will encourage patients to get out of bed, even when in pain, in order to reduce the risk of clot formation.
If you or someone you love has suffered from a pulmonary embolism during a hospital stay, or after being discharged from the hospital, it may very well be that the pulmonary embolism could have been prevented. If you or a loved one has been a victim of professional negligence, the Pittsburgh medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry, P.C., stands ready to investigate the case, discover what occurred during the hospitalization, and inform you whether medical malpractice contributed to your injury or your loved one's injury or death. Our lawyers have experience dealing with a broad range of medical malpractice suits including those involving pulmonary embolism. If you would like one of our medical malpractice attorneys to review a case involving pulmonary embolism, call or email our Pittsburgh office to arrange a free consultation and case evaluation.