Published on:

Never Event #5: Deep Vein Thrombosis / Pulmonary Embolism Following Surgery

Deep Vein Thrombosis / Pulmonary Embolism Following SurgeryWhat Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms inside the body.  Deep vein thrombosis usually occurs in the legs, arms and chest.  If a blood clot dislodges from the area where it initially formed it may get stuck in a smaller vein and block circulation of blood and cause organ problems. Deep vein thrombosis may cause problems in the lungs, brain, heart or other vital organs.  If not detected quickly, a blood clot may cause permanent damage or death.

Symptoms Of Deep Vein Thrombosis

  • May or may not be detected via manifestation of physical symptoms
  • Tenderness in arms, legs or chest
  • Pain or swelling of arms, legs, chest

Causes Of Deep Vein Thrombosis

  • Surgery or injury that restricts blood flow to a part of the body
  • Inherited conditions that increases blood clotting
  • History of heart attack or stroke
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity for long periods of time

What Is Pulmonary Embolism?

Pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage of a major artery in the lung.  Generally, the blockage is caused by a blood clot.  The blood clots may cause permanent harm to the lung, but they usually do not cause death.  It is important to diagnose pulmonary embolism quickly to reduce the risk of permanent complications.

Symptoms Of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sharp chest pain
  • Mucus that comes up when coughing
  • Sweats
  • Increased heart rate

Causes Of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Inactivity
  • Recent surgery in legs or abdomen
  • Severe infection
  • Obesity
  • Age (there is a higher risk of pulmonary embolism in people over 70)

Why Is Deep Vein Thrombosis And Pulmonary Embolism Following Hip & Knee Surgery On The ‘Never Event’ list?

First of all, hospital staff should be on the look out to identify the early stages of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in individuals who recently had hip or knee surgery.  In addition, hospital staff should take some or all of the following measures to reduce the risk of development of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism by:

  • Starting patients on blood thinners
  • Encouraging activity as soon as feasible following surgery
  • Giving patients extra fluid
  • Using compression stockings
  • Limiting the use of some medications which have been linked to blood clotting problems: Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex

If you or a loved one have are scheduled for any type of othropedic surgery, discuss with your doctor the need for prophylactic treatment.  If you have suffered a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism following hip or knee surgery, contact a medical malpractice attorney to learn if you have a potential claim against the hospital or physician.

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
    ★★★★★
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
    ★★★★★
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
    ★★★★★
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
    ★★★★★
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.
    ★★★★★