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Pulmonary Embolism: A Silent Preventable Killer | Medical Malpractice in RI

(This is a well written Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice  Article concerning Pulmonary Embolism. This article is approved by Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer, David Slepkow)

Any hospital stay comes with risks. When given proper care and attention by your health care professional, many of these risks can be avoided. One of these avoidable risks is a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms are blood clots that can migrate from the lower extremity to the lungs. This dire medical condition is preventable by medical professionals who oversee a patient’s care.

According to the APS Foundation of America, about 600,000 people in the US have a pulmonary embolism event each year. Of those, about 60,000 die, usually within 30 to 60 minutes after the symptoms begin. Pulmonary embolisms are one of the most common causes of hospital deaths and one of the most preventable.

Steps Medical Personnel Should Take to Avoid Pulmonary Embolisms

To avoid becoming a victim of a pulmonary embolism, patients must be made aware of the risks involved with surgery and then take the special precautions outlined by their provider. Those steps may include some or all of the following:

  1. Prescribe anti-clotting medication – this will assist patients who may be partially immobilized after a surgical procedure
  2. Become mobile after surgery – as soon as possible after an operation of any magnitude, medical staff should have the patient get up and start moving around
  3. Wear compression leggings – some patients cannot immediately move around following their surgical procedure, so compression stockings should be worn to prevent a pulmonary embolism
  4. Insist upon follow up care – patients who have had surgery should be seen by a physician soon after the procedure to check for indications of possible blood clots

Risks Associated with Pulmonary Embolisms

Certain factors make patients more susceptible to pulmonary embolisms during and after surgery. If a person falls into any of the following categories, doctors will need to provide blood thinners to help prevent blood clots. Patients who are at greatest risk include:

  • Smokers
  • Those who are overweight or obese
  • Individuals who are pregnant
  • Persons who have cancer

Symptoms Associated with Pulmonary Embolisms

The most crucial symptom of pulmonary embolisms is chest pain. The nature of the pain can be both stabbing and sharp and occurs suddenly. The pain usually becomes worse with each deep breath taken. Other symptoms of a pulmonary embolism may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Anxiety or apprehension
  • Sweating
  • Cough
  • Unconsciousness or passing out

Sara GoldsteinAbout the Author:
To learn more about pulmonary embolisms that can occur in hospital settings, please visit The Yost Legal Group.


Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The RI Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.

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