Blood Clot Injury Attorneys in Denver
They are the third most common cardiovascular killer in the United States, and the top cause of death and disability to patients in hospitals. Blood clots that form in the veins, called venous clots or venous thromboembolism (VTE), claim at least 100,000 lives each year.
Doctors do not diagnose this life-threatening complication often enough or early enough, and this needs to change.
We at Leventhal Puga & Braley P.C. love to tackle complex medical issues. In our firm’s forty-year history, we have achieved historic verdicts and made huge gains for the public safety. We demand justice for people injured by the healthcare system, so if you or a loved one suffered serious injury due to a blood clot, do not hesitate to contact us at (877) 433-3906.
Triggered by cuts, bruises, medications, and other insults to the body, platelets in the blood concentrate blood cells together, turning from a liquid into a flexible semisolid to patch the wounded area. The technical term for a clot is thromboembolism. They are normally broken down by the body, but sometimes, clots can detach and float through the bloodstream. When they reach a point in the vessels where they obstruct blood flow, they starve these parts of the body of oxygen.
Here are the basic types of blood clots, with some overlap:
- Arterial thromboembolism: A clot that forms in an artery. Arterial clots are felt almost immediately, with severe pain and tenderness in the area of the clot, and potential paralysis. These clots are medical emergencies because they quickly lead to heart attack or stroke.
- Venous thromboembolism (VTE): A clot that forms in a vein. Though they take longer to form, venous clots may lead to pulmonary embolism and other dangerous conditions. The symptoms vary depending on where the clot is formed, but include shortness of breath (SOB), lightheadedness, chest pain, vomiting blood, swelling, pain, and tenderness. If a clot travels to the brain, causing an ischemic stroke, the patient often gets a sudden severe headache, has difficulty communicating, and has visual disruptions.
- Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT): Though DVT usually forms within the legs or pelvis, it can form in any of the deep veins of the body: in the arms, abdomen, lungs, or brain. DVTs and pulmonary embolisms are the most common blood clots seen in hospitals.
- Pulmonary embolism (PE): When a clot forms in the lungs or travels to block a blood vessel in the lungs. Nearly 25% of pulmonary embolisms are fatal. Even if the patient does survive, they will now be at an elevated risk for developing another PE.
Generally, thromboembolisms take a few days to weeks to develop and travel, and there are known risks associated with their formation.
The greatest risk of blood clots is that a clot can make its way to your heart, brain, or even lungs. A blood clot that is attached to the side of one of your blood vessels does not pose much of a threat, but when the clot comes free and begins to travel around the body, it can cause extreme damage.
In the brain: The brain relies on a constant supply of blood to survive. Blood carries oxygen, which the brain needs to function. When a clot settles in a blood vessel supplying the brain, it can cut off the supply of oxygen, leaving the brain to suffocate. This can lead to an ischemic stroke, even death if the stroke is severe enough.
In the heart: The heart is what keeps the blood flow in the body moving. If blood flow to the heart is blocked by a clot, that can leave the rest of the body without blood circulation. That in turn can cause muscle death and organ failure. In some cases, the clot can also lead to a heart attack, which can be fatal.
In the lungs: The entire body relies on oxygen to function properly, and the lungs supply the body with the oxygen it needs. However, a blood clot can block blood flow to the lungs (known as a pulmonary embolism), limiting their ability to take in and spread oxygen. Clots in the lungs are very often fatal.
Of course, a clot can travel almost anywhere in your body. Even if the clot does not end up in your lungs, heart, or brain, it can still cause damage. It can impact your organs as well as your muscles. That is why it is so important to know the signs of a blood clot and seek medical help the moment you suspect you have one.
Blood clots cause symptoms your doctor should watch for, including:
- Swelling in an arm or leg
- Red or blue discoloration of the skin
- The impacted arm or leg is unusually warm to the touch
- Pain or swelling similar to a muscle cramp
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Stabbing chest pains
- An accelerated heart rate
If any or all of these symptoms occur, it is very possible you have developed a blood clot. Blood clots are considered a medical emergency, meaning they need to be treated immediately. Travel to an emergency room if your symptoms are particularly aggressive. An untreated blood clot can easily lead to a life-threatening stroke or heart attack.
Blood clots can actually be triggered or caused by poor medical care as well, meaning you may end up in a worse position when you seek help from careless medical professionals.
A 2018 study published in JAMA Surgery found that red-blood-cell (RBC) transfusions prior to surgery are associated with the development of clots afterward. In fact, having surgery at all brings a heightened risk, since surgical patients are under anesthesia and not moving for hours at a time, and inactivity has been found to increase the odds of blood clot formations.
Physicians are responsible for preventing clots whenever possible, diagnosing them, and treating them immediately to avoid further damage. When left untreated, they can easily and quickly kill a patient. Even if the patient survives, long-term complications are common after a blood clot. We often see:
Since clots can form in pregnancy, especially in the lower legs and pelvis, they carry the risk of pulmonary embolism, as well as premature labor, death of the fetus, and death of the mother. That is why any doctor working with a pregnant woman should be aware of the risks of blood clots and assess the patient mother constantly to make sure she has not developed one.
However, mothers are not the only ones at risk. Anyone can develop a blood clot, but they are most commonly found in:
- Cancer patients
- People on birth control pills
- People who take hormonal replacement therapy
- COVID-19 patients
- Overweight or obese people
- People with inactive lifestyles
If a doctor is treating a patient who falls within one or more of these high-risk categories, that doctor must keep an eye out for any potential signs of a blood clot. This is especially true if the patient is being restricted to a hospital bed or has undergone or is going to undergo surgery, as both of those can increase someone’s chance of forming a blood clot. If you suspect that your blood clot or its fallout happened due to medical malpractice, then the good news is you may have a chance to recover compensation.
According to Medscape, blood clots account for 5%-10% of all hospital deaths in the United States. Roughly 70% of these deaths could have been prevented with proper care. The truth is, medical facilities are not doing nearly enough. There are ways to prevent blood clots from developing, especially with high-risk patients, but many hospitals neglect to implement them. For example, there are serial compression devices that can be placed over the extremities during surgery, to promote blood flow. On top of that, there are blood-thinning, anti-coagulant drugs that can be prescribed to prevent the formation of clots.
Meanwhile, doctors can do more to diagnose clots. To be blunt, when any collection of the above symptoms are present in a patient, it is the first duty of the attending doctor to rule out a life-threatening blood clot before looking at any other diagnosis. They may fail to use Well’s scoring for potential DVTs and PEs, or fail to order a test, or misread an ultrasound.
The bottom line is, if doctors:
- Fail to diagnose a clot in a timely manner
- Fail to treat a clot in a timely and appropriate manner
- Fail to take standard precautions to prevent a clot forming in a patient
Then there has been a case of medical malpractice. If you have suffered serious harm because of a blood clot that developed due to medical malpractice, you are well within your rights to file a claim and get the compensation you deserve. However, to do so, you will need to work with an experienced lawyer.
Blood clots are deadly, and medical professionals should do all they can to prevent patients from developing them and treat patients the moment it becomes clear they have a clot. Sadly, many doctors neglect to do so, leading to catastrophic pain and injury. If you believe that you developed a blood clot due to medical malpractice, then you need expert help from our legal team.
To explore your own situation with an experienced Denver medical malpractice attorney, call (877) 433-3906. We at Leventhal Puga & Braley P.C. have handled hundreds of similar cases across the United States in over forty years of practice. We take care of our clients, and we’d like to take care of you.