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Failing to Diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) May Give Rise to a Malpractice Claim

The majority of patients trust their doctors to correctly diagnose their medical conditions and provide adequate treatment. Unfortunately, in some cases, medical professionals fail to properly diagnose a medical condition. One medical condition that is often misdiagnosed is deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that occurs when a blood clot forms within a deep vein of the arms, pelvis, or legs. Sometimes these clots move through the bloodstream and become lodged in an artery in the lung, blocking the blood flow in what is known as a pulmonary embolism. Certain individuals are at greater risk of suffering from a DVT including people who are obese, smokers, patients who have had recent surgery, advanced age, kidney problems, pregnancy, or those who are immobile for a long period. If your doctor failed to diagnose or treat your deep vein thrombosis, you should discuss your situation with the experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Internal blood clots can form for many different reasons.  In addition to the above referred potential risks, a genetic autoimmune disorder called an antiphospholipid syndrome, or sticky blood, causes the body to attack otherwise beneficial or benign proteins in the body, causing blood clots to form. Regardless of the cause of the clot, it can be potentially dangerous. If a clot travels to the heart or lungs, it can cause breathing problems or even a heart attack. If it travels to the brain, it can cause a stroke. Particularly dangerous blood clots can be treated quickly with surgery, but a doctor must catch the clot in time.

Tests used to diagnose or rule out DVT include:

  • D-dimer blood test. D-dimer is a type of protein produced by blood clots. Almost all people with severe DVT have increased blood levels of D-dimer. This test often can help rule out PE.
  • Duplex ultrasound. This non-invasive test uses sound waves to create pictures of how blood flows through the veins. It’s the standard test for diagnosing DVT. For the test, a care provider gently moves a small hand-held instrument on the skin over the body area being studied. Additional ultrasounds may be done over several days to check for new blood clots or to see if an existing one is growing.
  • This test uses X-rays and dye to create a picture of the veins in the legs and feet. The dye is injected into a large vein in the foot or ankle. It helps blood vessels show up more clearly on X-rays. The test is invasive, so it’s rarely done. Other tests, such as ultrasound, often are done first.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This test may be done to diagnose DVT in the veins of the abdomen.

Symptoms of DVT may be misdiagnosed or missed by a doctor. Some symptoms include a painful or swollen leg area, redness with swelling, burning in the swollen area, or the dilation of surface veins, as well as breathlessness, chest pain, and low blood pressure. Patients who are at a higher risk of DVT should be screened. When a doctor makes a timely diagnosis, DVT may be treated with blood thinners and anticoagulant drugs. When a patient is seriously injured or dies due to a failure to diagnose DVT, the doctor may be liable for medical negligence.

The critical question is whether a doctor’s breach of the professional standard of care caused injuries or death. In New York, you will need an expert physician to testify and provide an opinion that the doctor failed to do what other competent physicians in the same practice area would have done in the same circumstances. You will bear the burden of showing by the greater weight of evidence that the doctor’s actions represented a breach of the prevailing professional standard of care and that they caused your injuries. A failure to diagnose or an incorrect diagnosis of DVT may be caused by a doctor’s failure to develop a full medical history, a failure to perform a sound differential diagnosis, a failure to pay close attention to a patient’s description of symptoms, a discharge without performing diagnostic tests, or an incorrect reading of test results, among other situations.

The damages that you may be able to recover for medical malpractice include both economic and non-economic losses. They may include lost wages, medical bills, medical mileage, hospital bills, and household services. They may also include intangible items of loss, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a doctor’s failure to diagnose deep vein thrombosis, we are here to fight for your rights.  The attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers represent injured patients and their families in Syracuse, Rochester, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Oswego, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Cooperstown, and Lyons. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to learn more about your rights.

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