A significant risk of virtually any major surgery is developing blood clots in the deep veins of the legs. This is a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVTs most commonly develop in the veins of the calf or thigh.
The danger of DVTs happens if part of the blood clot breaks off. The traveling clot is called an embolism. More particularly, it’s called a pulmonary embolism if the dislodged blood clot reaches the lungs, where it can cause the deadly complication of disrupting blood flow to the lungs and heart.
DVTs can develop in situations, such as surgery, where a person is immobilized for an extended period of time. As a preventative measure, the standard of care often requires the use of sequential compression devices (SCDs) on the legs. These are automated sleeves that are inflated with air to squeeze the legs and improve blood flow.
Another preventative measure that’s often required by the standard of care is for the surgeon or physician to prescribe an anticoagulant medication. Anticoagulants prevent the body from making blood clots. Medications such as warfarin and heparin have been around for many years, but there are many other options on the market.
Determining whether prescribe anticoagulation medication is a physician decision that must be based on the individual patient’s medical condition and risks.
Painter Law Firm represented the family of a middle-aged Texas woman in a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit against a plastic surgeon. The surgeon performed multiple elective procedures over 11 hours. Post-operatively, the surgeon discharged her home from his surgery center, without a prescription for anticoagulants. Because of the lengthy time the patient was immobilized and under anesthesia, she developed DVTs. Within a few days of her surgery, she died from a massive pulmonary embolism.
More recently, Jeopardy! Winner Brayden Smith died from DVTs and pulmonary embolism following abdominal surgery. His parents filed a wrongful death medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, alleging that he should have been prescribed anticoagulants to prevent the formation of those deadly blood clots.
The colon-rectal expert retained by the plaintiffs in the case said, “The medical literature is clear that patients undergoing colorectal surgery as compared to general surgery have a significant increase in the risk of implied. This is especially true with pre-existing inflammation as is present in inflammatory bowel disease. And that is why anticoagulant therapy was so necessary in Brayden’s case.”
The tragic case involving Brayden Smith’s death illustrates the type of individualized care that surgical patients need to determine their blood clot risk and whether anticoagulation therapy is appropriate.
If you’ve been seriously injured because of poor surgical, anticoagulation, or DVT care in Texas, then contact a top-rated experienced Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free consultation about your potential case.