DVT Misdiagnosis: A Common Form of Medical Malpractice
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical condition that manifests in the formation of blood clots in the pelvis or legs. While blood clotting is an essential bodily function, it can be dangerous when a blood clot forms in the wrong place. When doctors fail to diagnose or misdiagnose DVT, a blood clot can quickly turn deadly. Misdiagnosing deep vein thrombosis is a common medical mistake, often occurring in emergency rooms and hospitals in New Jersey. When a patient suffers harm or death resulting from DVT misdiagnosis or inappropriate treatment, it may be considered medical malpractice.
What is DVT?
DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis, which occurs when blood clots form in the lower extremities or the pelvic region. A blood clot is a collection of blood cells that forms a thick clump. These clots are necessary to stop bleeding – they are the scabs that develop when you sustain a cut. However, blood clots can also form in the veins and arteries. When a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs, this is known as DVT.
The Dangers of Deep Vein Thrombosis
The blood clots involved in DVT are extremely dangerous. By their very nature, blood clots restrict blood flow. So if a blood clot forms in the leg, it can begin to restrict blood flow to the area above, below, or near the clot. In addition, DVT blood clots can become detached and travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. If a blood clot travels to the brain, it can cause a stroke. A blood clot that travels to the lungs and forms a blockage is called a pulmonary embolism.
Risk Factors for DVT
The two primary risk factors for DVT are recent surgery and immobility for a prolonged period. For example, patients recovering in the hospital are often immobile for days or even weeks while they recuperate. Similarly, people who travel in cars for long drives or those who sit on planes for hours are at a higher risk for DVT blood clots. There are several other risk factors for DVT, including:
- Family history of DVT or blood clotting disorders
- Overweight or obesity
- Birth controls pills
- Older adults and the elderly
- Kidney conditions
- Certain cancers
- Heart failure
Diagnosis and Treatment of DVT
If you have DVT, you may experience pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and/or a feeling of warmth in the affected region. Notably, some people with DVT do not experience any symptoms at all. It is critical for your doctor to identify your risk factors and possible symptoms of DVT and to initiate treatment right away. Typically, treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis will involve anticoagulant medications, also known as blood thinners. Failure to diagnose and treat DVT with the appropriate medication may be considered medical malpractice.
There are other ways in which doctors and medical professionals can be negligent in the diagnosis and treatment of DVT. For example, they must provide the proper instructions to a patient after surgery, including the importance of movement to maintain blood flow. It is also essential to test and accurately diagnose DVT to avoid serious complications such as a pulmonary embolism.
If you develop a pulmonary embolism, this is an emergency medical situation and you must seek immediate medical care. Some of the symptoms of a PE include rapid heart rate, sudden shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, and chest pain. It is then your doctor’s responsibility to urgently diagnose and treat this life-threatening condition. Failure to do so may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Victim of DVT Misdiagnosis in New Jersey?
If you suspect medical negligence led to DVT related complications for you or a loved one in New Jersey, it is vital to seek help from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Contact the attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group at 973-435-4551 to learn more about pursuing damages for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more. Consultations are provided free of charge, as is our representation unless we obtain you a recovery.
Resource: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), MayoClinic