ER Doctor Missed Two DVTs and Five Pulmonary Embolisms
In January 2007, I went to the ER due to severe pain in right leg calf along with chest pain and shortness of breath. Due to having gall bladder surgery the previous week, and having a hereditary blood clotting disorder, I was concerned that I had a blood clot in my leg. I had never experienced that type of chest pain and shortness of breath before, so I was equally concerned about this also. After arriving at the ER, I informed triage and the attending physician of my symptoms. After ordering an ultrasound on my leg and a chest x-ray, the ER doctor informed me that I had superficial thrombophlebitis (occurs when a blood clot causes swelling in one or more of your veins) in my leg and that my chest x-ray was negative. He also informed that I would need to go back on blood thinner and follow-up with my PCP (Primary Care Provider) within three days. I followed his instructions and within three days I visited my PCP for a follow-up. My PCP informed me that Heparin has no therapeutic benefit for superficial clots and we both decided that I would discontinue it.
After a few weeks, as my health continued to deteriorate, I was referred to a vascular specialist. It was at this vascular consult that it was discovered that the ER doctor had read the test results wrong and allowed me to walk out of the hospital with two DVTs (Deep venous thrombosis, a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein that is deep inside the body). By the time I was hospitalized, another two weeks after this discovery, I ended up having multiple DVTs, and one in an artery. It was also discovered that I had at least five pulmonary embolisms (a condition that occurs when an artery in your lung becomes blocked). I knew how gravely ill I was when the priest came to my room and asked me if I would like my last rights read. It was not until I requested my medical records, due to a fight with the long-term disability insurance company, that I discovered the full details of the medical negligence that occurred. The last two years have been such a struggle due to the negligence of just one doctor. I now have permanent damage in the veins of my leg, along with heart and lung damage.