A misdiagnosed blood clot or failure to properly treat your blood clot can mean pain and suffering for you or your loved one.
For example, deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) are both types of blood clots, which can have catastrophic effects if left untreated or if a physician misdiagnosed it as something else.
If you’ve experienced this, find out if you are eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Let’s go over the causes and signs of blood clots, and what to do if you think you may have a misdiagnosed blood clot.
What is a Blood Clot?
Blood clots are essentially lumps of blood.
They are gel-like clumps of coagulated blood that your body produces in response to a cut or other injury.
Blood clots are beneficial when they help stop bleeding, but when they form independently, not in response to an injury, and fail to dissolve naturally, they can require medical intervention.
Blood clots in your legs, lungs, and brain are especially serious and can be fatal if left untreated.
What Causes a Blood Clot?
When your blood thickens, it can result in your blood forming a semi-solid mass or clump of blood — a clot.
Injuries or other conditions can trigger blood clot formation or form inside blood vessels without apparent signs of injury or damage.
When a blood clot forms, it can travel to other areas of your body, resulting in injury or harm.
Blood Clot Signs to Look For
While the symptoms of a blood clot will depend on where in your body it forms, there are general blood clot symptoms that most people can experience.
Symptoms can include:
- Swelling in the precise location of the clot or general swelling of the area, i.e., your entire leg could swell
- The area affected by the blood clot can turn red or blue
- Pain or soreness that ranges from a dull ache to severe, intense pain as the clot worsens
- Skin around the affected area can become warm to the touch
- If the blood clot is in your lungs, you might experience difficulty breathing, coughing, or coughing up blood, have chest pain or feel dizzy
- If a blood clot forms in your brain, you may have seizures, having trouble seeing, difficulty speaking, or have an overall feeling of weakness
Who is at Risk of Blood Clots?
When blood clots are identified and treated early, patients can recover quickly without lasting effects. However, a misdiagnosed blood clot that is left untreated or not appropriately treated can put patients at risk of a heart attack, stroke or death.
While blood clots can affect anyone at any age, several risk factors have identified those that may be at an increased risk for a pulmonary embolism or a deep vein thrombosis.
People who may be vulnerable to clots include:
- Those who are more than 10% overweight
- Tobacco or Marijuana users
- Those who are 60 years or older
- Users of monthly oral contraceptives
- Users of hormone replacement therapy
- Those who had COVID-19
- Those living with pre-existing medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, cancer, or cirrhosis
- Those who are pregnant
- Those with a cast on a lower limb, e.g., foot, ankle
- Those who have recently undergone hip or knee replacement surgery
- Those with a chronic inflammatory disease such as asthma, tuberculosis, chronic peptic ulcer, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontitis, sinusitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or active hepatitis
- Those with atrial fibrillation or flutter
- Users of wheelchairs or other similar mobility devices like scooters
- Those who travel often via airplane
- Those who have a previously had blood clots or have a blood clotting disorder
- Those who have been off their feet for an extended period of time, i.e prolonged bed rest following surgery or lengthy car or bus trips
How are Blood Clots Diagnosed?
In addition to a physical exam to look for physical symptoms of a blood clot, such as swelling or redness, diagnostics such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, chest x-rays, and CT scans can be used.
Once your blood clot has been diagnosed, treatment focuses on preventing the clot from getting larger while helping it dissolve.
Medications that help thin your blood, making it difficult for blood clots to form, are often prescribed. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the blood clot.
A Misdiagnosed Blood Clot can Be Fatal
Blood clots can often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, especially if they occur in less common areas of the body.
For example, the early symptoms of blood clots in the lungs — a pulmonary embolism — can be mistaken for pneumonia.
The misdiagnosed blood clot can mean the patient now must undergo more rigorous treatment to dissolve the clot. In more severe cases, a misdiagnosed blood clot in the lungs can be fatal.
Can You Sue For a Misdiagnosed Blood Clot?
To prove medical malpractice as a result of a misdiagnosed blood clot, you need to be able to prove your doctor was negligent. This can include showing how the doctor's actions (or inaction) resulted in your experiencing a blood clot or complications from a blood clot that was not diagnosed accurately.
For example, if you go to an emergency room for leg pain, swelling, and redness after a long cross-country flight, the doctor failed to consider a blood clot.
If you suffered damages, including financial, as a result of a misdiagnosed blood clot, you may have experienced medical malpractice and be able to file for compensation for your pain and suffering.
Book A No-Cost Medical Malpractice Consultation
If you have questions about a misdiagnosed blood clot or are considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, get in touch with one of the Medical Malpractice team experts at Grover Lewis Johnson.
Schedule your no-cost consultation today.
Together, we'll go over your situation, answer any questions you have, listen to what you experienced, carefully evaluate and determine your options.
We will help you reach the best decision for you and your family, whether that's filing a medical malpractice lawsuit for a misdiagnosed blood clot or working toward a settlement. And our contingency basis payment structure means you don't need to even think about paying our fees until you receive compensation.
At Grover Lewis Johnson, we want to put our 25 years of medical malpractice experience and expertise to work for you to get the compensation you deserve.