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Failure to Diagnose Pulmonary Embolism

Ocala Attorneys Skilled in Medical Malpractice Cases

A pulmonary embolism blocks an artery in the lung. It is often caused by a blood clot traveling from the legs or another part of the body to the lungs before getting stuck. In some cases, another substance, such as fat tissue or an air bubble, impedes blood flow to the lungs. This is a very common cause of death, and a failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism may result in a serious disability or death. If you or a loved one suffers injuries or death for this reason, the Ocala medical malpractice lawyers at the Dean Law Firm may be able to help you recover damages through taking legal action.

A Failure to Diagnose a Pulmonary Embolism May Cause Serious Harm

A pulmonary embolism has several signs, including fever, rapid heart rate, chest pain, increased respiration rate, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and signs of deep vein thrombosis, such as edema in the lower leg. Immediate emergency medical care is critical. A doctor is more likely to be able to provide an appropriate diagnosis if they know that you have factors that increase the likelihood of having a pulmonary embolism, such as pregnancy, smoking, cardiovascular disease, obesity, hormone therapy, oral contraception, recent surgery, or cancer.

However, it is not always easy to diagnose pulmonary embolisms, particularly if there is a preexisting condition that has similar symptoms. Doctors generally conduct a differential diagnosis after taking a complete medical history to determine whether there are risk factors. Failing to take this history, failing to think of a pulmonary embolism, or failing to adequately test any of the theories listed on the differential diagnosis may result in a misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose.

For example, one way to test whether there is a pulmonary embolism is through D dimer testing, which is used to determine whether there is an increased level of D dimer, which is a chemical that is produced by the body when there is a blood clot. A doctor who fails to do this testing might miss a pulmonary embolism diagnosis.

Generally, when a doctor properly diagnoses a pulmonary embolism, they prescribe anticoagulants to stop clotting and thrombolytics to break an existing clot. Sometimes surgery is necessary. When the proper steps are taken, a patient may be saved, but a misstep during diagnosis may result in delays that may cost a patient their life. Timing is critical, but unfortunately emergency room doctors are under a great deal of pressure and may fail to diagnose. In such cases, you may be able to recover compensation by bringing a medical malpractice claim.

Medical malpractice exists when a health care provider fails to use the level of care that the same type of professional should use when faced with a similar patient under similar circumstances, and this failure is the legal cause of the injuries.

To determine whether liability may be established, we can submit records to an expert physician, who can determine whether your doctor or the doctor of your loved one acted incompetently. The expert does this by reviewing medical records and hospital records. The expert will need to corroborate that there are reasonable grounds to sue for medical negligence. The defendants and their insurers then get an opportunity to investigate whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the defendants were negligent in caring for or treating the claimant and that the medical negligence caused the harm.

Discuss Your Medical Negligence Claim with an Ocala Lawyer

At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced Ocala attorneys can represent you in a claim related to a failure to diagnose a pulmonary embolism. We can also bring wrongful death claims on behalf of family members whose loved ones died due to a failure to diagnose. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form for a free appointment with a misdiagnosis attorney. We also serve medical malpractice victims in The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties.