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Blood clots can be misdiagnosed


When a Pittsburgh resident goes to the doctor or to the ER with a medical condition they expect that they will receive a correct diagnosis. No one expects that their doctor will give them a wrong diagnosis or will suffer from failure to diagnose a serious condition. But, for thousands of patients this has become reality. One condition that is often misdiagnosed are blood clots.

Blood clots are known by the medical term of thorombosis. Anyone can get thrombosis and it can be quite serious. Two types of serious blood clots include a pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Pulmonary embolism is a blockage of an artery in the lung. DVT is a blood clot that forms in a large vein. Often they are in a lower leg or thigh. A DVT clot can break away and cause a PE.

PE can often be misdiagnosed because it has symptoms that mimic other conditions. Many times a PE is misdiagnosed as a stroke, heart attack or pneumonia. Thorough testing needs to be done to look for blood clots. These include an ultrasound, CT scan, blood tests and an EKG. Blood clots are commonly treated with anticoagulant medicine that thins the blood. These medicines help to keep clots from forming and keep existing clots from getting any larger. If the clot is life-threatening a different medicine is used to quickly dissolve the clot.

When a blood clot is misdiagnosed it can lead to a worsened condition. If a blood clot isn't caught in its earlier stages it can cause a heart attack, stroke and even death.

If a person believes their worsened condition was caused by a negligent physician they may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the medical records and determine what happened. If negligence is found compensation may be available for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: Cleveland Clinic, "What everyone should know about blood clots," Jan. 27, 2014

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