Surgical ErrorsPulmonary Embolisms

Pulmonary Embolisms after Surgery

Pulmonary Embolisms are a known and preventable risk following certain Surgeries.

Pulmonary Embolism LawyerPulmonary Embolisms are Potentially fatal

Pulmonary embolisms are usually caused by a blood clot forming in veins of the legs, breaking off and becoming lodged in a lung. This is known as a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. The blood clot then impairs the lungs’ ability to oxygenate the blood by blocking pulmonary artery or one of its branches. Pulmonary embolisms are prevented by preventing DVTs.

Pulmonary embolisms can be difficult to diagnose. The most common symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, dizziness, heart palpitations and fainting. Pulmonary embolisms usually have a sudden onset. Depending on the severity of the pulmonary embolism the patient may be at risk of death and brain damage.

The pulmonary embolism and DVT lawyers at Patterson Law offer free consultations to assess whether a pulmonary embolism may be the result of medical malpractice.

Did The Doctor Know If This Risk?Patients at Risk for Pulmonary Embolisms

DVTs the most common cause of a pulmonary embolism can be prevented. When a patient is receiving medical care or has been discharged if they are at a higher risk of a DVT an evaluation of that risk along with the appropriateness of measures to minimize the risk of a DVT should have been considered.

Pulmonary embolisms often occur while a patient is under medical care for cancer, a trauma, surgery or a condition that limits their mobility. Medical personnel must determine whether a patient is at risk for a DVT. The most common risk factors for forming DVTs include:

  • Undiagnosed cancer
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Oral contraceptives or Estrogen use
  • Pregnancy
  • Major surgery (particularly operations lasting more than 3 hours)
  • Trauma
  • Long periods of immobility
  • Smoking
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Dehydration
  • Being over 40 years old
  • Prior history or family history of venous blood clots or clotting disorders.

If significant risk factors for a DVT are present the medical team should consider measures to prevent DVTs. There are scoring systems such as the Caprini Thrombosis risk factor assessment tool that helps to standardize this analysis.

DVTs occur at relatively high rates among hospitalized patients with spinal cord injuries, major trauma, hip replacement surgery, knee replacement surgery, hip fracture surgery, strokes, critical care and major gynecologic surgery. Preventative measures for these types of patient can prevent and minimize the severity of DVTs.

Pulmonary Embolisms are usually treated with medication to break up the clot that may be administered by a catheter but more serious cases may require a surgical procedure called a pulmonary embolectomy.

Pulmonary Embolisms Are PreventableMedication and Good Advice Saves Lives

The most common method utilized to prevent DVTs is anticoagulation medication. These medications reduce the clotting efficiency of blood. For many types of surgeries such medication is given to prevent DVT formation for high risk patients. There are numerous medications that may be considered to reduce the risk of a DVT. Some of these medications require careful monitoring through regular blood tests. These medications typically increase the risk of internal bleeding which is a serious concern for trauma and surgery patients. Patients with multiple health problems may not be good candidates for certain medications that may place undue stress on the patient. For patients that are at risk for DVTs but are not good candidates for medication other preventative measures such as compression stockings may be used.

Post injury and surgical care instructions are important to preventing DVTs. Periods of extended immobility are one of the greatest risk factors for a DVT. Patients after many types of surgeries are often discharged while they are still at an elevated risk for a DVT. This is often the case for patients after abdominal or orthopedic surgeries. These patients must be properly advised about when and how often they should be moving. A patient after a surgery may feel more comfortable spending too much time in bed or on the couch. This lack of movement may permit a DVT to form.

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With pulmonary embolisms there is often not a second chance. Massive pulmonary embolisms often come on suddenly with little to no time to save the patient.

George Patterson

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

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If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident or suffered a serious personal injury due to someone else’s negligence please contact the best personal injury lawyers at Patterson Law. George Patterson has been featured in an article published in the Best Lawyers in America. The “best” injury lawyers may be reached at their Annapolis or Bowie offices at 301-888-4878.

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