Someone Else’s Negligence Should Not Go Unnoticed
Did You Suffer From Serious Complications?
Pulmonary embolisms are some of the most dangerous medical conditions people can face, and the danger significantly increases as they grow older. They often occur when a blood clot, most commonly from the veins in their legs, breaks off, travels up to and blocks one of the lungs’ arteries. Of the 600,000 or so people affected by pulmonary embolisms every year, over 60,000 die from this condition – those that survive may face other serious complications like organ damage, pulmonary infarction, and dangerously low oxygen levels in their bloodstream.
Our New York City medical malpractice attorneys at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. understand the severity and possible complications associated with this condition, and have spent decades providing injured victims with the knowledgeable and experienced legal assistance they require. Because the vast majority of people die when their pulmonary embolism isn’t diagnosed or treated soon enough – about one third of people whose pulmonary embolism goes undiagnosed or untreated die – people who suffer from serious complications may be able to file a lawsuit in order to secure the compensation needed to cover their medical bills or any other damages they may have incurred. Contact our firm today to speak with one of our attorneys and discuss a plan of action that best suits your needs.
Causes and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolisms
The most common cause of a pulmonary embolism is when a blood clot travels from the deep veins in the patient’s leg up to an artery in their lung, causing a blockage. In many cases, multiple blood clots can make their way up over time and slowly cut off the blood flow. If the blockages are allowed to build up, sections of the lung that rely on that blood flow may die – a condition known as a pulmonary infarction. When these sections die, the remaining living portions of the lungs are put under increased strain to provide the oxygen your body requires to function, which can in turn damage organs throughout the body if they don’t receive the oxygen they need.
These blood clots are most often caused by a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, blood clots aren’t the only cause of these blockages. Other sources include:
- Fat from the marrow in a broken long bone
- Some other type of tissue, like collagen
- Part of a tumor
- Air bubbles
The symptoms associated with a pulmonary embolism may vary depending on your family or personal history with heart disease, how much of your lung is affected and the size of the blockage. While the severity of these symptoms can be different in each case, the most common include:
- Shortness of breath: This condition can suddenly appear without notice. It will worsen when the patient exerts themselves.
- Chest pain: Simple tasks like taking a deep breath, coughing, eating and even bending over can make this symptom become worse, to the point where it may feel like a heart attack. Rest has little to no effect, and exerting yourself may make it become worse.
- Bad cough: Some patients may also produce bloody or blood-streaked sputum when coughing.
In some cases, other symptoms may include:
- Clammy or discolored skin
- Excessive sweating
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Leg pain and / or swelling, usually in the calf
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
The risk of developing this condition significantly increases as you get older – once you turn 60, the chance doubles after every 10 years. In addition to age, there are many more potential risk factors that can significantly increase the chances of developing a pulmonary embolism, including:
- Smoking: While the exact reason is still unclear, experts agree that using tobacco increases the risk of developing a blood clot especially when other risk factors are present.
- Obesity: Blood clots are more likely to develop when someone is significantly overweight.
- Supplemental estrogen: The estrogen in both birth control pills and in hormone replacement therapy is known to increase blood’s clotting ability.
- Pregnancy: The weight of the baby can put increased pressure on the mother’s pelvic veins, which can slow the flow of blood down to and returning from their legs.
- Long stretches of immobility: Extended bed rest or sitting in a cramped position on a long plane, car, etc. ride may slow blood flow to and from your legs, which can increase your chances of developing a blood clot.
- Heart disease: While cardiovascular disease in general increases your chances of developing blood clots, heart failure is the most common cause.
- Cancer: Certain types of cancers, like pancreatic, ovarian, lung and those with metastasis are known to increase the levels of blood clotting substances. Chemotherapy has a similar effect. Women with a family history of breast cancer are also at a higher risk of developing blood clots, especially if they are taking tamoxifen or raloxifene to treat their own case of breast cancer.
- Surgery: People who undergo lengthy surgeries have an increased risk of developing blood clots, which is why doctors tend to administer medication that can prevent their formation before and after the procedure.
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