Pulmonary Embolism, DVT & Blood Clot Negligence Claims

Blood Clot, DVT & Pulmonary Embolism Compensation Claims

If you have suffered from a Blood Clot, DVT, or PE due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and potential impacts of these conditions is crucial in pursuing a successful compensation claim.

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Introduction to Blood Clot, DVT & Pulmonary Embolism Compensation Claims

Blood clots, including Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE), are serious medical conditions that can lead to significant health complications and even be life-threatening. If you have suffered from a blood clot, DVT, or PE due to medical negligence or unsafe working conditions, you may be entitled to compensation. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and potential impacts of these conditions is crucial in pursuing a successful compensation claim. Our comprehensive guide provides essential information on how to navigate the claims process, ensuring you receive the justice and financial support you deserve.

What are blood clots?

The ability of blood to clot is vital: when we are injured, a clot plugs the damage, stopping the bleeding and providing a mechanical defence against infection. The clot is protective. However, when clots occur where they are not necessary, they can cause harm.  A blood clot in the lungs is called a Pulmonary Embolism.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot (thrombosis) that forms within a deep vein. DVT most commonly develops in the deep veins of the leg or calf but can occur within any deep vein including those within the pelvis or abdomen. DVT commonly occurs in the legs but can occur in any area of the body.

Typical symptoms of a leg DVT include pain and swelling in the leg and red, warm skin over the affected area. However, some DVTs do not cause any symptoms at all. The danger of DVTs is that there is a risk that a piece of the clot breaks off and enters the free-flowing blood stream, which takes blood to your lungs.

If a clot blocks off one of the blood vessels in your lungs, you could become seriously ill, with shortness of breath and chest pain. You may feel lightheaded and could cough up blood. If your symptoms are severe the clot can be quickly fatal. A clot formed this way in the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism (PE). Around 1 in every 10 people who have an untreated DVT will develop a PE. For this reason, DVTs and PEs require urgent medical attention.

Diagnosing DVT

There are several different tests that can help diagnose a DVT. A D-dimer blood test picks up the presence of a blood clot in your bloodstream. However, the D-dimer count can also be raised because of other things such as recent injury or pregnancy, so it is only useful as an indicator that something may be wrong. A Doppler ultrasound scan of your leg can detect blood flow in your leg’s deep veins, and if there is a clot present, the flow will be slowed or even stopped completely. Finally, there is a venogram, during which a dye is injected into your leg blood vessels and an X-ray is taken. A blocked vessel should show up clearly on the film.

Signs and symptoms of a DVT can include the following:

  • Swelling usually in one leg or arm. Rarely there is swelling in both limbs;
  • Pain or tenderness usually in the leg. The pain usually starts in the calf and can feel like cramping;
  • Skin discolouration usually blue/red/purple and on the leg;
  • A sensation of warmth in the skin.

Who is at greater risk of suffering a DVT?

What strikes me from the cases I have run relating to the misdiagnosis of DVTs is that it can occur in people of all ages, male/female, and what I find most concerning is that some of my clients have been apparently very healthy and therefore it has not occurred to them nor their doctor that they may be experiencing symptoms of a DVT or PE. A common thread running through my cases have been clients who have a low BMI, are physically active, non-smokers, young and are essentially healthy people but have suffered sporting injuries and then developed the DVTs during a period of immobility either as a result of surgery or a lower leg cast. On the other hand, other DVT cases have featured people who are at higher risk of DVT or PE but their doctors have failed to recognise this and act on suspicious symptoms.

A DVT is more likely in patients who are:

  • Over 60;
  • Smokers;
  • Overweight;
  • Previous history of DVT;
  • Taking the contraceptive pill or HRT;
  • Cancer patients;
  • Recent lower leg surgery or a period of immobility;
  • A history of varicose veins;
  • Pregnant.

Diagnosing a Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

In addition to the DVT tests, there are a couple of special tests that are used to see if there is a lung clot. Like the venogram for your leg, pulmonary angiography is when dye is used to show up the blood flow in your lungs, and it is visualised using a CT scan, instead of an X-ray. Then there is a specialised scan known as a ventilation-perfusion or V/Q scan which examines both the blood and airflow in your lungs.

Signs and symptoms of a PE will often include:

  • Shortness of breath;
  • Chest pain;
  • Coughing.

Another blood clotting condition is thrombocytopenia which develops when the blood platelet count is so low that the blood cannot clot efficiently and internal bleeding can occur. Common signs/symptoms are:

  • Easy or excessive bruising;
  • Superficial bleeding into the skin that appears as a rash or small reddish-purple spots on the lower legs;
  • Excess bleeding from cuts;
  • Bleeding from gums or nose;
  • Blood in urine or stools;
  • Excess menstrual bleeding;
  • Fatigue.

Treatment of DVT and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

The main treatment for any type of clot is anticoagulant medication. These are drugs that stop blood clotting quickly. If you are unable to take anticoagulant medication for any reason, it is possible to have a filter placed inside the largest vein ( the vena cava) which will trap any clots that may arise, preventing them from going to your lungs.

What happens if a DVT is misdiagnosed?

Misdiagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can have serious, potentially life-threatening consequences. When DVT is not correctly diagnosed and treated, the risks increase significantly. Here are the key consequences of misdiagnosed DVT:

  • At best you become susceptible to damage of the surrounding tissues and at worst you are vulnerable to the development of a life-threatening PE, which happens in around 50% of people with DVT. This occurs when a part of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, blocking a pulmonary artery. PE can be fatal if not treated immediately.
  • Long-term damage to the veins, resulting in chronic venous insufficiency. This condition impairs the blood flow in the veins, causing swelling, pain, and skin changes in the affected limb. Over time, this can lead to venous ulcers, which are difficult to treat and significantly impact the quality of life.
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome is a common complication of DVT that occurs when the clot damages the veins and their valves. Symptoms include chronic pain, swelling, and discolouration of the skin in the affected leg. PTS can be debilitating and can lead to severe mobility issues.
  • Without proper treatment, the impaired blood flow due to DVT can cause tissue damage in the surrounding areas. In severe cases, this can lead to gangrene, where the tissue dies and becomes infected.
  • The failure to diagnose and treat DVT promptly increases the overall risk of dying. This is particularly true for high-risk individuals, such as those with a history of clotting disorders, recent surgery, or prolonged immobility.

DVT and Pulmonary Embolism Negligence Claims

To make a successful claim for medical negligence, it must be shown that a duty of care was owed to the patient and that duty of care was breached, causing harm.

Speak to a specialist

If you think that you have been the victim of a DVT or PE misdiagnosis and that you have a case to claim for compensation, please get in touch with our specialist team.

Our promise to you

  • We will review your DVT negligence claim by advising you on the NHS complaints procedure or other alternative procedures if your case does not relate to NHS care and treatment.
  • We provide a free initial consultation and case review
  • We can assist you with any issues that you may have regarding the complaints procedure or that you encounter in obtaining copies of your medical records.
  • We will advise you of the course of action with respect to your case.

Contact us

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

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