Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a clot in the lung, which can be deadly. It typically starts as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where the blood clumps in the vein of the leg and forms a clot. This is a risk for patients who are bedridden or sedentary. This is why doctors want patients to walk as soon as they are able. There are precautions to prevent DVT, which include pressurized stockings, aspirin, or blood thinners, such as heparin. Nurses and doctors must be alert to the signs and symtoms of DVT and PE, which include pain in the extremity, and shortness of breath. Time is of the essence. Treatment must be started promptly. Treatment includes intravenous heparin, and /or surgery to remove the clot.
We had represented the estate of a woman who was admitted to the hospital after hip replacement surgery for rehabilitation.
Early in the day she complained of pain in her leg. The complaint was ignored. Toward the end of the day she developed shortness of breath. By the time the doctors appreciated she had a PE, it was too late to effectively treat her and she died. At the deposition the nurse testified that she alerted the hospital resident of the patient's complaints. The resident did not recall being informed. The case was settled by the hospital.
Weisfuse & Weisfuse LLP represents the estates of patients who die from PE. Call us for a free consultation at: 212 983 3000; or email us at: [email protected]; visit our website: weisfuselaw.com.