A blood clot in an artery, also known as arterial thrombosis, is a serious, growing public health issue that everyone needs to be aware of. Blood clots are preventable, yet are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed affecting an estimated 900,000 Americans and ultimately resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths each year.
An Illinois man was awarded $15 million on a medical malpractice case after his lower legs were amputated when doctors failed to timely diagnose and treat his arterial blood clots.
When Corby Bell underwent blood testing at Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon in 2015, doctors ruled out deep vein thrombosis from the venous ultrasound done. Initially, they failed to do any arterial tests. He was then simply discharged with undetermined leg pain.
Clots are classified by where they form. Venous, as you may guess, form in your veins. Arterial clots form in your arteries or the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to the rest of the body and the heart muscle. Usually, an arterial blood clot doesn’t show symptoms until it blocks the flow of blood to part of the body. Serious problems caused by this can be a heart attack, stroke or critical limb ischaemia. In the case above, failing to have completed arterial tests forced Bell to return to the hospital the same day with pain in his lower legs and numb cold feet… a symptom of critical limb ischaemia.
These are all medical emergencies. When another failed diagnosis was given to Bell, claiming he had peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage preventing normal sensations in the arms or legs and causing pain, the hospital and staff continued to neglect Bell’s condition. Following this misdiagnosis, Bell was treated by Zeman, a physician assistant, for the following week.
It wasn’t until Bell returned to the hospital’s emergency room later in critical condition and unable to walk that the hospital finally did an arterial blood test. Arterial clots block blood and oxygen from reaching other vital organs, sometimes leading to tissue damage. This was the same results as Bell’s tests revealed blood clots from the knee down in both legs, meaning his legs were “effectively dead” as stated in the release.
It is important to understand that blood clots can happen to anyone and are often preventable. Early diagnosis is critical to prevent death. When a blood clot is misdiagnosed it can lead to a worsened condition. If not caught in the earlier stages it can cause a heart attack, stroke or even death. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a medical professional’s failure to diagnose ot treat a blood clot, you could be entitled to compensation. Please call us any time at 312-346-5320 for a free consultation with an attorney to see if you have a case.