Pulmonary Embolism Lawyer - Toronto Malpractice
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Pulmonary Embolism Overview
A pulmonary embolism involves an inability to breathe due to a blood clot that has settled somewhere in the lung arteries. In some cases, the blood clots are small and numerous. In other cases, there is one large embolus that blocks the opening to the lungs, called a saddle embolus. Blood clots like this are often deadly but the smaller ones are usually survivable.
The common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Cough, which is productive of pinkish, foamy mucus
- Sudden onset of shortness of breath
- Sharp chest pain when taking a deep breath
- You may feel anxious or on edge
- Light headedness or feelings of faintness
- Palpitations or rapid heart beat
The cause of a pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that originated in the deep veins of the legs. The clot breaks off and travels up the venous system to the vessels of the lung where it interferes with circulation and oxygen flow. About 300,000 people per year suffer from either a pulmonary embolism or a deep vein thrombosis. Only a small percentage of patients with a DVT will go on to developing a pulmonary embolism.
There are rare causes of a pulmonary embolism include tumors, air bubbles, fat from broken bones and amniotic fluid during labor.
There are things that increase one’s risk of developing a pulmonary embolism. These include anything that causes an increase in the formation of blood clots in the system so that blood clots too fast. Some things that increase your risk include:
- Being inactive, such as illness, surgery, sitting for long periods of time on a car trip or flight
- Smoking history
- Taking estrogen replacement therapy or birth control pills
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Cancer, heart failure, severe infection or stroke
- Recent surgery of the lower extremities, back or brain
- Age greater than 70 years
- Being overweight
The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism can be difficult and is primarily based on the symptoms the patient has. Symptoms can be similar to a panic attack, pneumonia or heart attack. A history and physical examination are good places to start. Tests to confirm the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism include a CT scan of the abdomen, MRI scan, ultrasound and an electrocardiogram. Historically, a ventilation perfusion or (V/Q) scan was the diagnostic of choice. This was before CT scan existed.
The treatment of pulmonary aneurysm is to give clot busters and blood thinners to break up the clots so they dissipate. Clot busters are used when the situation is dire and the clots have to break up as soon as possible. Heparin is then given to keep the blood from clotting and, after the patient is stable, the patient is given Coumadin or warfarin, which is a pill to take at home for a prescribed period of time or indefinitely.
Another treatment is surgical and is called a pulmonary embolectomy. The vascular surgeon goes in and removes the blood clot at the entrance to the lung vasculature. In some cases, a vena cava filter is surgically implanted so that blood clots in the legs do not travel to the lungs.
If you have had pulmonary embolism one time, your risk of having another one is significantly higher. It means you may need to take a blood thinner like warfarin indefinitely. Your bleeding risk is greater if you’re on blood thinners but the benefit out weight the risks.
The things you can do to prevent a pulmonary embolism from occurring include:
- Avoiding sitting for long periods of time
- Move as soon as you can following surgery
- Drink extra fluids while trying as long as the drink doesn’t include caffeine or alcohol
- Wear compression stockings if you happen to be high risk
- Take blood thinners absolutely as directed if you happen to need them
Toronto Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The medical profession which includes doctors, nurses and hospital technicians usually provides a caring service with a high standard of excellence however there are occasions when things do go wrong. Our litigation service is completely free and our Toronto based lawyers will deal with your case using a contingency fee arrangement which means that if you don’t succeed in receiving a financial settlement then your Pulmonary Embolism lawyer won't get paid.
TORONTO LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7142