What Is Venous Thromboembolism?
The term might be difficult to pronounce, but venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a medical condition that affects many Americans and can lead to serious complications. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that VTE encompasses two scenarios involving blood clots:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot located in a deep vein, usually a vessel in the arm or leg.
- Pulmonary Embolism (PE) occurs when a blood clot has formed in a deep vein, and then breaks off and travels to the lungs.
Around 900,000 people suffer from VTE every year, and approximately 100,000 individuals die because of blood clots annually. Plus, 1 in 4 suffer a sudden, fatal PE without warning. CDC officials point out that these conditions are preventable, so VTE is something a prudent health care provider would diagnose and treat before a patient suffers harm. As such, you might have legal remedies under Florida medical malpractice laws if your physician failed to address blood clots. Some background information should help you understand the basics.
Effects of VTE
Though there are some risk factors, DVT and PE can affect anyone, at any age. From the descriptions above, you can guess that PE is quite serious if left undetected and untreated. The blood clot that breaks off and heads to the lungs might be small, only causing a slow-down of blood reaching the lungs. The condition is fatal when a large clot completely blocks blood flow to the lungs, potentially causing a sudden death.
Though not as severe, DVT is a ticking time bomb in a sense. The clot can break off at any time and travel to the lungs to cause PE. Still, there are medical complications even when it stays put. People with DVT have long-term effects because the immobile clot damages valves in the vein.
CDC officials note that DVT and PE may be chronic conditions that patients must manage for the rest of their lives. In fact, around one-third will have another VTE-related episode.
Failure to Prevent Clots as Medical Malpractice
Physicians have a duty to provide care in accordance with the medical standard of care, and deviations from this standard could be grounds for a med mal claim. With respect to PE and DVT, misdiagnosis is often a factor. For instance:
- A doctor may not carefully review your medical history to determine the presence of risk factors.
- VTE often develops in patients who were recently hospitalized or underwent surgery, so providers must properly monitor.
- VTE is preventable with lifestyle changes, but only when the patient knows they have it.
Once properly diagnosed, physicians can get the patient started on an anticoagulant regimen to prevent DVT.
Discuss Legal Remedies with a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer
For more information on your rights, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. to schedule a no-cost case evaluation. You can reach our offices by calling 813.223.7849 or visiting us online. After reviewing your circumstances, a Tampa medical malpractice attorney can advise you on remedies.