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Blood Clots and Pulmonary Embolism

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a caller who suffered a pulmonary embolism allegedly as a result of poor medical care and would like to know her legal options.

The situation as described was that this individual suffered a broken leg with a serious fracture that resulted in lots of pain and swelling in the leg, around the calf muscle. But she complained to her doctor about symptoms that fit very clearly with a deep vein thrombosis, or basically a blood clot that forms around the swollen area in the arteries and veins due to the swelling created by the fracture. So, this individual kept going back to the ER multiple times complaining of pain and actually asked the ER physicians if it might potentially lead to a blood clot.

In the circumstances as described by the caller, the emergency room physicians just basically blew her off and didn’t pay any attention to her complaints. Didn’t do any testing. And about three or four weeks later, this individual suffered a serious life-threatening pulmonary embolism, basically a blood clot that made its way to the lung, which originated from the leg that was involved in the fracture. The circumstances as we investigated indicated that all the signs and symptoms of a blood clot forming were available to the doctors and they noted those symptoms, but they actually paid no attention to the symptoms.

Now, there’s a lot of things that can be done if the patient had proper testing and care. One of the ways to confirm a formation of a blood clot is with an ultrasound. And the ultrasound imaging will actually confirm whether there’s a blood clot or not. But none of this was done in this individual caller’s situation. If the situation is worse, doctors can put in a screen that prevents the blood clot if it breaks free from making its way to the pulmonary artery, where it can do the most damage. And other ways to treat it would be with blood thinner medications like warfarin, which also goes by the name of Coumadin, and other medications to thin the blood. But the bottom line is, the medical professionals seem to have dropped the ball in this particular instance.

So what are the options? Well, the caller has the option of hiring an attorney to bring suit against those medical professionals who failed to meet the standard of care. In other words, if the medical professionals had every opportunity to prevent this life-altering injury, if they failed to do so, there’s a mechanism whereby they can be held legally responsible.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at www.DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.