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Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of pulmonary embolisms

| May 6, 2021 | Failure To Diagnose

When a pulmonary embolism is not diagnosed early in North Carolina, the consequences for a patient can be severe. Pulmonary embolisms can cause permanent damage to the lungs and other organs. In some cases, a pulmonary embolism can place too much strain on the heart and cause a patient to die.

When a patient has deep vein thrombosis, they are at a heightened risk of developing a pulmonary embolism, or PE, and should receive prompt treatment. When a patient presents with early warning signs of a pulmonary embolism, immediate action must be taken to minimize the damage that could otherwise occur. Unfortunately, DVT and PE are frequently not diagnosed before damage or death occurs.

Diagnosing DVT

Deep vein thrombosis involves the formation of a single, large clot in the deep veins of the legs. From this large clot, smaller clots can break off and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. This makes diagnosing DVT and treating it important to prevent pulmonary embolisms as well as damage from the blood clot to the legs. People are likelier to develop DVT when they have the following risk factors:

  • Obesity
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history
  • Lengthy surgery

If DVT is diagnosed, it can be treated with pressure applied to the affected area, diet and lifestyle changes. If it is not addressed, a pulmonary embolism can develop and travel to the lungs.

Diagnosing PE

A pulmonary embolism can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms might mimic other conditions, including COPD or asthma. If a patient presents with symptoms of PE, he or she might be misdiagnosed with a different condition. The embolism can then cause further damage to other organs by reducing the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream because of the blockage. Patients who have DVT or risk factors associated with PEs should be tested early when they present with symptoms.

If you suffered organ or limb damage because of a delayed diagnosis of DVT or PE, you might want to file a medical malpractice claim. A lawyer may help you to understand whether any legal remedies are available to you.