Hospital Staff Fails To Diagnose Patient With Deep Vein Thrombosis; Patient Dies!

Hospitals, Misdiagnosis, Wrongful Death

This case makes me angry because there were multiple mistakes done by the treating physician and hospital staff. An out-of-state hospital had a young musician come into with severe pains in his calf that were incredibly painful. He went to his general practitioner and staff looked at his sore calf which had been bothering him already for days. A doctor then evaluated his calf and diagnosed it as a muscle injury then scheduled blood tests to check for clots.

As the pain got worse, the patient checked into a hospital and was again evaluated and told it was a soft tissue injury. The hospital did not, however, check for blood clots like the general practitioner did.

A few days later the general practitioner’s blood test came back. The doctor said that everything looked normal. However, there were scores that were more than double the upper level of normal for certain indicates of blood clots. But the doctor just missed it!

Days later, the patient dies and as a result of a pulmonary embolism—a result from deep vein thrombosis (“DVT”). DVT is a very dangerous condition that results from a blood clot and commonly affects the leg veins. The symptoms—besides pain—are a swelling of the affected limb, warmness, and redness which make diagnosis easier. If DVT is not diagnosed quickly enough, it can cause the clot to dislodge and travel to the lungs—which is called a pulmonary embolism—and cause serious health consequences which are commonly fatal.

But what I really like in this case is what the victim’s family said—something to nullify the aggressive tort reform seeking to limit large awards to patients and their families. The family said that “[w]e have not sought to punish anyone as it won’t bring [the patient] back, but we hoped something positive could come out of this such as training for the doctors concerned and education for staff to prevent further deaths. Sadly the trusts will not acknowledge the mistakes made and I fear nothing has changed.”

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