How Did My Doctor Miss My DVT? Was It Negligence?


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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a severe medical condition that can quickly become life-threatening. Diagnosing and treating DVT promptly is critical for patients to have the best chances for recovery and no long-term damage that requires ongoing medical care. However, diagnosing deep vein thrombosis can be complex and challenging. Therefore, doctors must pay close attention to patients' symptoms to correctly diagnose the condition. Unfortunately, in some cases, doctors misdiagnose DVT or miss it entirely. When that happens and injuries result, it may be a case of medical malpractice, and the doctor may be held responsible and ordered to pay damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

How Does DVT Happen?

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein – usually in the pelvis, thigh, or lower leg, and rarely in an arm. If the blood clot dislodges and travels to the lungs, it blocks the main artery, putting pressure on the heart's right ventricle. When that happens, it is called pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. It is serious and can be fatal.

How is DVT Diagnosed?

While the symptoms of DVT are recognizable, they can be mistaken for indications of less serious medical conditions. The most common DVT symptom is pain in the legs with dilated veins at the skin surface. Additionally, some swelling and redness at the site may be present. These symptoms can be mistaken for a more superficial thrombosis that is less dangerous, a muscle strain, or even a simple leg cramp.

However, because DVT is such a serious condition, doctors must identify and treat these symptoms carefully, taking every step necessary to ensure they don't misdiagnose or completely miss DVT. Diagnosing DVT typically starts with an ultrasound. If there is evidence of DVT found on the ultrasound, multiple other specific tests can confirm a DVT.

Quick treatment with anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) can be administered when a prompt diagnosis is made, and patients may fully recover. But when a patient suffers injury or dies because a doctor failed to properly diagnose DVT, it may be considered medical malpractice or wrongful death.

What Has To Be Proven In a DVT Malpractice Claim?

In Pennsylvania, a medical malpractice lawsuit requires that a plaintiff prove four main elements:

  • Duty – The doctor, or other responsible healthcare providers, owed the patient the duty of a specific standard of care.
  • Breach in the Standard of Care – The provider's actions or inactions breached the accepted standard of care for that specific medical treatment.
  • Causation – The violation of the standard of care resulted in the injuries or death of the patient.
  • Damages – The patient suffered damages as a direct result of the injuries.

The standard of care in a medical malpractice claim is defined as the same level of skill, care, and treatment that is considered acceptable by similar, reasonable prudent healthcare providers in similar circumstances. This can be complicated to prove in a malpractice case. As a result, plaintiffs need to have the best legal representation in their claims.

How Does Medical Malpractice Happen In DVT Cases?

Medical malpractice happens in DVT cases in multiple ways. Any of the following may cause the failure to diagnose DVT promptly or to misdiagnose the condition:

  • Failure to obtain the patient's complete medical history
  • Failure to pay careful attention to the description of the patient's symptoms
  • Failure to perform a sound differential diagnosis
  • Discharging the patient without ordering the proper diagnostic tests
  • Reading test results incorrectly

There are other circumstances in which medical malpractice can occur. However, those mentioned are some of the most common.

How Can Ross Feller Casey Help With Your DVT Misdiagnosis?

At Ross Feller Casey, we have experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers prepared to help you with your DVT misdiagnosis claim. We believe negligent medical professionals should be held liable for their actions or inactions when it causes patients serious injuries. Therefore, if you've sustained significant injuries due to the misdiagnosis of DVT, you may be entitled to a financial recovery for damages. While a financial recovery cannot heal those injuries, it can help with medical bills, lost wages, and other financial burdens caused by the injury.

In addition to experienced DVT attorneys, Ross Feller Casey has a team of top medical doctors on staff to review medical records and assist with your claim. Our legal team will fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve. All DVT misdiagnosis claims are handled on a contingency basis, which means you don't pay unless we make a financial recovery in your case. Contact our law office today to arrange for a free case review.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.