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$7.7 Million – Pulmonary Embolism Misdiagnosis
$6.3 Million – Stroke Misdiagnosis by Family Doctor
Firm Partner Seth Wilson Media Interview (Sept. 2019)
Pulmonary Embolism, Misdiagnosis & Delay in Treatment
Pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) is often life-threatening and is misdiagnosed in about 1 in 3 cases. When left undiagnosed and untreated, patients with pulmonary embolism will not survive.
Typically, pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a blood clot travels to the lung from the legs, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While PE can occur due to a blood clot from other parts of the body, DVT is the most common cause. Other, less common causes include amniotic fluid embolus or clots from an IV catheter.
Risk factors for PE include:
- medications, especially hormone medications like birth control pills
- medical conditions like blood clotting disorders, heart disease or cancer
- risk factors like smoking, pregnancy, etc.
- recent surgery
- long periods of immobility
Pulmonary embolism is higher in patients with multiple risk factors. For example, a patient with a medical condition like heart disease or cancer who has surgery requiring a lengthy period of immobility is at risk for PE. Treating doctors and/or a hospital may be held liable if the patient dies or suffers serious injury due to undiagnosed pulmonary embolism.
Misdiagnosis of PE in Patients with Lung Diseases & Disorders
Symptoms of pulmonary embolism vary, but the most common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, low blood pressure, cough, and chest pain.
One of the reasons PE is often misdiagnosed is that these symptoms overlap other lung conditions, like pneumonia or asthma. In fact, patients with PE are often misdiagnosed with pneumonia or asthma and sent home from the hospital or doctor’s office.
Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers accept pulmonary embolism misdiagnosis cases throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and the surrounding counties including Delaware County, Montgomery County, etc. We offer FREE CONSULTATIONS for all medical malpractice and injury matters. Contact us now or call (610) 825-0500.
Pulmonary Embolism Misdiagnosis Case Synopsis: Our medical malpractice law firm obtained a $7+ million trial verdict against a Philadelphia hospital after emergency room doctors failed to diagnose the pulmonary embolism. The 50 year old patient died as a result.
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Misdiagnosis of PE at Hospitals or Emergency Rooms
In Pennsylvania hospitals or emergency rooms, misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism often occurs due to the following:
- failure to obtain a complete medical history
- failure to perform a complete physical exam
- failure to monitor a patient
- failure to order lab or diagnostic tests (such as a D-dimer test, venous ultrasound, computed tomography angiogram, etc.)
- failure to obtain a timely pulmonary or cardiology consult
- staffing inadequacies which lead to mistakes
Example: A patient who had recent surgery goes to the ER after passing out at home. He complains of chest pain and low blood pressure. Chest x-ray shows pneumonia. He is given antibiotics and released. The ER staff did not get a complete patient history including the recent surgery. Had the ER doctor known about the prior surgery, the patient would have been assessed for pulmonary embolism.
Misdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism can also occur at a doctor or specialist’s office. For example, a patient who recently gave birth by c-section sees her family doctor complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. The patient also has pain in one leg. The family doctor fails to consider pulmonary embolism and diagnoses bronchitis. The patient returns home and dies several days later.
Here, the family doctor may be liable for failing to diagnose the PE, and the patient’s ob-gyn or hospital where she delivered may be liable for failing to inform the patient when she was discharged about the risk and symptoms of PE.
Timely Treatment is Critical
In hospital and emergency rooms, patients with pulmonary embolism must receive timely treatment with blood-thinner medications, thrombolytic therapy, and in some cases, surgical intervention. Patients who present with syncope (loss of consciousness or passing out), low blood pressure, bradycardia (slowed heart rate), or poor oxygenation typically require immediate admission to intensive care units. Mortality is often high in these patients.
Compensation for Misdiagnosis of Pulmonary Embolism
Patients and surviving family members may have legal rights to compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, doctors and specialists. Compensation claims often include medical bills, loss of wages from disability, and pain and suffering. In cases of death, surviving family members may file wrongful death and survival actions to recover for the loss of their loved one.
Related Article: Pennsylvania Court Gives Patients More Time to Sue in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits [Summary: As of October 2019, Pennsylvania’s outer or maximum 7 year statute of limitations law for medical malpractice lawsuits is now unconstitutional. This means patients and their families have more time to file medical malpractice lawsuits in especially complex cases, like failure to diagnose cancer.]
Medical Malpractice Lawyers – Pulmonary Embolism Misdiagnosis or Treatment Delay
Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice law firm specializes in complex medical malpractice claims, including heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and misdiagnosis of cancer. We’ve been rated as Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report since 2016 in the area of medical malpractice
We’ve gone up against some of the biggest hospitals in Pennsylvania and won millions of dollars for our clients. Contact our office for a free consultation or call (610) 825-0500.
Page last reviewed and updated: February 10, 2021
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We Accept Medical Malpractice Cases Against Hospitals in the Philadelphia Area
Cases Also Accepted Across Pennsylvania
Chestnut Hill Hospital
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Roxborough Memorial Hospital
Temple University Hospital
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Crozer-Chester Medical Center (Upland)
Delaware County Memorial Hospital (Drexel Hill, Upper Darby)
Springfield Hospital (Springfield)
Taylor Hospital (Ridley)
Abington Hospital (Abington, Lansdale)
Bryn Mawr Hospital (Bryn Mawr)
Einstein Medical (East Norriton, Elkins Park)
Holy Redeemer Hospital (Meadowbrook)
Lankenau Hospital (Wynnewood)
Suburban Community Hospital (Norristown)
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Phila., West Chester, East Norriton, Meadowbrook, Doylestown, Langhorne, Sellersville, etc.)
St. Christopher's Hospital for Children
Shriner's Hospitals for Children
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