A pulmonary embolism is a medical condition which can affect even otherwise healthy people with plenty of years of life ahead of them. Pulmonary embolisms develop when a blood clot, usually from the legs, flows upward into one’s lungs and cuts off blood flow to part of the lungs. Without this oxygen, one’s lungs cannot work, resulting in a life-threatening condition.
Other material, like part of a tumor or even an air bubble, can also cause a pulmonary embolism. The symptoms of pulmonary embolisms including coughing, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms, like lightheadedness or arrythmia of the heart, can also develop.
Careless doctors can easily miss a pulmonary embolism
The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are common to many other conditions as well, so it is important for a treating professional to assess a patient carefully and make sure to rule out this potentially deadly condition. There’s simply no room for a misdiagnosis of a pulmonary embolism, as the result of such a mistake can be death or a permanent disability to lack of oxygen to the brain.
Caregivers also need to do what they can to prevent embolisms
Doctors another other clinicians also have plenty of opportunities to prevent pulmonary embolisms by treating their underlying cause. For example, patients with a history of heart disease or who have just had surgery are at a higher risk of pulmonary embolisms, as are certain cancer patients.
Likewise, patients who must stay in bed or who are immobile develop blood clots more frequently than do those who can walk. Hospitals, long term care facilities and others who care for bed-ridden patients have to make sure they either move enough to prevent blood clotting or take other measures.
Doctors, nurses and others who negligently leave pulmonary embolisms undiagnosed or untreated put their patients’ lives at risk. They should have to pay compensation for the injuries they cause.