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Blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and medical malpractice

DVTs can cause pulmonary embolism after surgery

Fox News recently reported that blood clots cause a death in the United States every six minutes. That’s just stunning to me. Fortunately, though, with proper medical care it’s usually possible to avoid this tragic outcome.

How it happens

The typical mechanism of injury and death is blood clots lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which lead to pulmonary embolism, which lead to serious brain injury or death.

Any time a person is immobile for an extended period of time, there’s a risk of DVT development. Blood pools and then clots in the deep veins of the legs. When a clot dislodges into the bloodstream and blocks blood flow to part of the lung. This condition is described as venous thromboembolism (VTE) A large pulmonary embolism can cause life-threatening low blood oxygen levels and permanent organ damage if not promptly treated.

Risks, signs and symptoms

Post-surgical patients have a higher risk for developing blood clots. So do people who are obese; are smokers; are pregnant; have a family history of blood clots; have been diagnosed with lung disease, heart disease, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); have been diagnosed with cancer; or are taking estrogen-based medications.

Signs and symptoms of DVT include:

• Pain or tenderness in an extremity (arm or leg) unrelated to injury

• Warm-feeling skin in the area

• Redness and swelling in the area

Medical experts recommend being on the lookout for these signs and symptoms after surgery or even after being immobile for an extended car or airplane trip.

Medical malpractice

When a physician, physician assistant (PA), or nurse practitioner (NP) doesn’t implement appropriate DVT preventive measures, or fails to diagnose or treat DVT promptly, it may be medical malpractice.

That’s what happened in the case of a middle-aged woman from the Dallas area who underwent several plastic surgery procedures in one lengthy operation recommended by her plastic surgeon. Within a few days of the surgery, she died at home when a large DVT embolized, caused pulmonary embolism, and prematurely took her life.

Her family retained Painter Law Firm to pursue a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit. We retained a medical expert who provided an opinion that the deceased person developed DVTs after the plastic surgeon was negligent by:

• Keeping the patient immobilized and in surgery for over 11 hours of elective procedures, instead of splitting them up into more than one setting.

• Failing to prescribe a blood thinning medication, given the length of surgery and time under general anesthesia.

• Not performing an adequate post-operative evaluation.

• Providing no post-operative instructions that addressed DVT risks.

If you or someone you care for has been seriously injured because of DVT or pulmonary embolism care in Texas, then contact a top-rated experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation about your potential case.

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.


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