According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 900,000 people in the United States may be affected by a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.
However, pulmonary embolism misdiagnosis is relatively common.
One study found emergency departments misdiagnose 27.5% of patients suffering from pulmonary embolisms.
You may wonder about your remedies for a pulmonary embolism misdiagnosis.
Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to bring a medical malpractice claim and receive compensation.
What Is a Pulmonary Embolism?
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot forms in a blood vessel, breaks off, and travels to an artery in the lungs.
Blood clots formed deep within the veins in your legs are called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is one of the leading causes of pulmonary embolism.
Hospitals may diagnose pulmonary embolism and DVT through duplex ultrasonography (an imaging technique), chest x-ray, a D-dimer blood test, and other types of tests.
Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms
Pulmonary embolism symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath,
- Rapid heartbeat,
- Pain or swelling in the leg (most likely the calf),
- Sweating, and
Pulmonary embolism has symptoms similar to other conditions like muscle strains, panic attacks, heart attacks, and pneumonia.
An initial diagnosis of one of these conditions can result in a hospital misdiagnosis of a blood clot.
Pulmonary Embolism Risk Factors
DVT and pulmonary embolism risk factors include:
- Heart disease;
- Recent surgery;
- Prolonged immobility, such as bed rest and long car or plane trips;
- A history of smoking;
- Pregnancy; or
- Birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
If a doctor ignores these risk factors in a patient, they may be liable for malpractice.
Is the Misdiagnosis Malpractice?
You may be wondering, Can I sue a hospital for misdiagnosis of a blood clot? A misdiagnosis can be malpractice if you prove the doctor or hospital was negligent.
You must prove the following to prove negligence:
- Duty—the doctor must be required to follow a medical standard of care when treating the patient;
- Breach—the doctor did not follow the standard of care;
- Causation—not following that standard of care caused harm to the patient; and
- Damages—the patient suffered injury or death.
A medical standard of care means a doctor must treat you as most doctors would have treated a similar patient under similar circumstances.
An embolism screening may be the standard of care for someone with risk factors and symptoms.
If your doctor failed to screen you, you might have a malpractice claim for the misdiagnosis of a pulmonary embolism.
What to Do After a Pulmonary Embolism Misdiagnosis
You should take the following steps after a pulmonary embolism misdiagnosis:
- Collect medical records,
- Make a list of potential witnesses,
- Consult a medical expert or another doctor, and
- Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
In New Mexico, you generally have three years to file a medical malpractice claim.
Taking the above steps and contacting an experienced malpractice attorney as soon as possible helps you protect your claim.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys for Pulmonary Embolism Misdiagnosis
A medical malpractice claim can be challenging to prove.
Fortunately, the medical malpractice attorneys at Poulos & Coates, LLP, can help you during this stressful time.
We are one of the only law firms in New Mexico that specializes in medical malpractice claims, and we have both a doctor and nurse on our staff.
Contact us today online or by phone to find out how we can help you.