Physicans Still Missing Warning Signs of Blood Clots

Article posted on:09/17/2008

As was reported in numerous newspapers around the country this week, the acting Surgeon General, Dr. Steven Galson, has announced a new campaign to raise the awareness of a serious medical problem in the United States that far too often goes undiagnosed: blood clots that initially present as simple leg pain. These blood clots are often referred to as a "deep vein thrombosis" or DVT. They form in large veins, usually in the leg or groin and can quickly kill if the clot moves up to the lungs. In such instances the clots are referred to as a pulmonary embolism or PE. The goals of the recently announced campaign are to get both patients and doctors to recognize the emergency in time. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 people a year get these clots and 1/5 of them die. Identified risk factors and triggers for these clots are: a recent surgery or broken bone; fall or car crash; being immobile for long periods of time; taking of birth control or menopause hormones. People within this class have a higher risk of developing a clot. In addition, some individuals are genetically predisposed to developing a clot. Symptoms of an existing clot include: swelling, pain (especially in the calf), a warm or red spot on the leg, shortness of breath or pain when breathing deeply. Although the campaign takes aim at an ill-informed society, it appears many physicians are also failing to recognize and treat the warning signs. In fact, some studies suggest that up to 1/3 of patients in hospitals who need protective blood thinners to prevent the development of a clot are not getting them. Moreover, many physicians are to recognize the basic signs and symptoms of these clots, confusing the diagnosis with muscular pains and/or other seemingly harmless medical issues.

The lawyers at STSW routinely handle death and catastrophic injury cases involving patients with numerous risk factors for the development of clots, but who are not prescribed blood thinners or other therapeutic measures to lower the risk of developing these clots. If you or a loved one developed a clot following a surgical procedure or believe that physicians failed to appreciate the signs and symptoms of an existing clot prior to injury, call the lawyers at STSW for a free consultation at 410-385-9104. STSW lawyers routinely handle such medical negligence / medical error/ medical malpractice cases against health care providers in Baltimore and Washington D.C.