Losing a part of one's body is a traumatic event and often has a huge impact on someone's way of life. This is even more true for people who experience limb loss and especially for those who experience it as a result of serious errors made in their medical treatment or surgery.
One of the medical errors that may lead to the amputation of a limb or even cost the patient his or her life is delayed deep vein thrombosis (DVT or blood clot) diagnosis. This is just the type of case Miami attorney Sean M. Cleary handles when the egregious negligence of others causes devastating harm to families.
Blood clots that occur in patients are under the radar at most hospitals, despite being potentially deadly. Deep vein thrombosis can be prevented when patients are screened for their risk and given therapy, but many patients are not screened and do not receive appropriate therapy.
Examples of Deep Vein Thrombosis Malpractice
A man with a right leg DVT, high blood pressure and a history of obesity presented to an emergency department complaining of nonstop left calf and foot pain that had begun all of a sudden that day. After a venous ultrasound that was negative for DVT, he was discharged with instructions to follow up with his primary care doctor.
A couple of weeks later, the man returned to the ED with acute symptoms: occasional left foot and ankle pain, a cold feeling, and a sore between his toes. After another week went by, the man arrived at the hospital via ambulance with severe pain, cold, and numbness in his left leg with no palpable pulse. A CT scan showed a large blood clot almost entirely blocking blood flow to the arteries in his lower left leg. In an effort to dissolve the clot, a vascular surgeon started him on medication. Over the next several days the man underwent a thrombectomy and a femoral popliteal bypass surgery, both unsuccessful before he was transferred to another hospital center for a stent angioplasty.
As the angioplasty was not successful, the man ultimately needed an above-knee amputation.
When the man first arrived at the ED, the signs of DVT were relatively benign, implying that he was experiencing the early stages of the condition and his left leg was still benefiting from some blood flow. If the DVT had been diagnosed at that point, it is highly probable that he would've made a complete recovery. When an extremity is cool to the touch, like the patient's leg upon his return to the hospital, it is an indication of severely restricted blood flow.
A failure to timely diagnose a blood clot led to the amputation of a woman's leg. At the time of the medical malpractice, the plaintiff was eighteen years old. She went to the hospital with complaints of leg pain and was diagnosed as having an arterial blood clot. The defendant, an on-call vascular surgeon, did not recognize the necessity for immediate care. As a result of the delay, this young girl was forced to have her leg amputated.
Leg Amputation Due to Medical Malpractice
Thrombus is the medical term for a blood clot; therefore, deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually a vein in the leg. Left untreated, the blood clot can block blood flow to the leg, or it can break off and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Either way, DVT is a serious limb- and life-threatening condition. When it's treated with blood thinners, doctors prevent the condition from becoming life-threatening. But misdiagnosis can result in a debilitating medical condition and even death.
A classical presentation of DVT includes pain in the calf that might feel like cramping or soreness. Several alarming risk factors may be obesity and a history of DVT. All things considered, medical staff should perform diagnostic tests to thoroughly rule out DVT before releasing a patient from the hospital.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim
People who have suffered leg amputation due to a delayed deep vein thrombosis diagnosis can file medical malpractice claims. For example, in both cases presented above, as a direct result of the health care providers' negligence, the patients suffered additional medical procedures, economic loss, and permanent injury that resulted in the amputation of one of their legs.
The medical negligence may consist of:
- Failing to appropriately examine the patient for a blocked artery
- Failing to perform diagnostic testing, such as a vascular exam
- Failing to offer a vascular surgical consultation
- Failing to notice and respond to the symptoms of DVT
- Failing to administer appropriate medications in a timely manner
- Failing to order and perform appropriate testing
- Failing to timely react to known surgical emergencies
- Failing to adequately communicate among health care providers
How Can an Attorney Help With Your Malpractice Claim?
Sean M. Cleary has earned a reputation of excellence by successfully handling medical malpractice cases when the medical providers avoid admitting medical errors. Bad outcomes alone do not necessarily substantiate a charge of negligence or a viable case. It takes the experience and insight of a Miami medical malpractice lawyer to know how to take the right steps to create the best chance for financial recovery.
The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary undertakes the sometimes long and costly fight for justice on behalf of the patients and their families whom we take on as clients. Life is about doing what is right, and taking a stand when others do not play by the rules at the expense of others.
Have you suffered a hospital injury due to the negligence of a medical professional? The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary can help you. For a free consultation with our Miami medical malpractice attorney, please call 305.416.9805 or contact us online.