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Deep Vein Thrombosis Claims
If you or someone you know has suffered from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and you believe their suffering was caused by or has been exacerbated by substandard medical treatment, you may be in a position to make a claim for compensation. The experienced clinical negligence solicitors at JMW are here to provide the guidance you need to ensure you are in the best possible position to secure the outcome you deserve.
Find out more about your options when pursuing a deep vein thrombosis claim by getting in touch with our expert solicitors today. We can talk you through the next steps and answer any questions you may have. Simply call us on 0800 054 6512 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
As the name suggests, a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg. Occasionally a DVT can form in the arm or deep veins of the pelvis. One of the main predisposing factors for deep vein thrombosis is immobility (hence the association with long haul flights), but trauma to the leg veins following a fracture or surgery and clotting abnormalities of the blood can also lead to the development of clots (thrombi).
The clot in the vein is not a danger in itself, although it will cause localised pain, swelling and inflammation, but it can break away from its original position and travel through the heart to become lodged in one of the blood vessels supplying the lungs or the brain, where it can have catastrophic consequences.
You may be able to make a DVT compensation claim provided it can be demonstrated that you have received substandard care. Poor care includes when a risk assessment has not been carried out to evaluate your risk factors for developing the condition, or if preventative measures are not taken to ensure a person deemed at high risk does not develop DVT.
It must also be shown that injury was caused as a consequence of this substandard care, which might include pain caused by DVT that was not prevented or the development of a pulmonary embolism caused by a delayed diagnosis of DVT.
With the help of experienced solicitors, such as the clinical negligence team at JMW, you will be well-placed to prove your case and to secure the compensation to which you are entitled.
There are many risk factors for deep vein thrombosis and these can be divided into strong, moderate and weak.
Strong Risk Factors:
- Fracture of hip or leg
- Hip or knee replacement
- Major general surgery
- Major trauma
- Spinal cord injury
Moderate Risk Factors:
- Previous DVT
- Clotting disorders of the blood
- Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy
- Heart or respiratory failure
- Intravenous drug abuse
Weak Risk Factors:
- Increasing age
- Staying in bed for longer than three days
- Prolonged car or plane travel
- Varicose veins
- Laparoscopic surgery
In some cases of DVT there may be very few, if any, symptoms. However, when symptoms do show they can include:
- Pain and swelling in the leg, often the calf
- The skin feeling warmer where the clot has formed
- The skin becoming red below the back of the knee
- Aching in the area affected
If you are suspected of suffering from DVT it is common for your GP to recommend a specialised blood test called a D-dimer test. This test identifies pieces of blood clot that are loose in your bloodstream after breaking down.
The methodology behind this test is that should you have a large number of pieces in your bloodstream, this is a sign that a blood clot is present in the vein. However, the reliability of this test has been called into question because there is always the possibility of blood clot fragments increasing in number either following an injury, after an operation or during pregnancy. Often an ultrasound scan or similar tests will be required to confirm DVT.
Pulmonary embolism is a very serious condition that can develop if DVT is not treated correctly. If you suffer from a pulmonary embolism you may experience breathlessness, pain in the chest while breathing and it may even cause you to collapse suddenly.
If you or someone you know shows signs of pulmonary embolism you should seek medical attention immediately.
Negligent Care Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis. Compensation: £25,000
With JMW's help a young woman has secured £25,000 compensation after she received negligent care following a car accident.
Melanie was admitted to the A+E following a car accident. She suffered a crush injury to her lower right leg and needed an x-ray. The x-ray showed that she had torn several ligaments but broken no bones. Her foot was bandaged and later that day her leg was put in a well padded back slab, which is half a plaster cast, used to allow for swelling in a new injury.
She was advised to rest, elevate the leg, immobilise and to use crutches. She was discharged but Melanie experienced a lot of pain in her lower leg over the next few days.
Six days later she was re-admitted to hospital. Her right leg was very sore and the doctor suggested that she may have a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT is a clot in the deep vein. A venogram was scheduled. A venogram is a test to determine blood flow in veins. Melanie was kept in for almost a week but discharged after the venogram with no treatment as the test indicated that there was no evidence of DVT.
Holiday plans including flying
Melanie continued to complain of pain in her right lower leg. She attended physiotherapy after a couple of weeks and an orthopaedic review clinic after a month. As she was soon to go on holiday, Melanie asked the doctor about flying to her destination; she was assured that she could continue with her plans.
During her flight Melanie tried to mobilise but when she arrived at her hotel her leg was swollen and becoming increasingly blue.
After a few days Melanie developed chest pain and was admitted to hospital. She was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism (PE) secondary to femoral vein (a vein in the groin and leg) thrombosis. Melanie was in intensive care until she was transferred home to a local Hospital.
Melanie now suffers with post-phlebitis syndrome following femoral DVT. She was prescribed Warfarin.
Failure to diagnose DVT
Melanie alleged that the Hospital was negligent in failing to diagnose a DVT whilst she was an in-patient.
An expert medical opinion was supportive (agreed that the care was negligent) and in particular felt that the venogram was not recorded accurately. The expert felt that the appearance of the vein were grossly abnormal and almost certainly due to DVT in the calf vessels.
The hospital admitted negligence (breach of duty) and awarded Melanie £25,000.00 (plus costs). Melanie continues to experience swelling of her right leg when she stands for a long time and she must wear below elastic stockings indefinitely.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Following Surgery. Compensation: £100,000
With JMW's help a woman has successfully obtained £100,000 compensation after a hospital failed to adhere to protocol after surgery left her with numerous, avoidable complications.
When Cecilia was 46 years old she developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in her left leg. This progressed to a pulmonary embolus (PE) and she was admitted to hospital and anticoagulated (treated with blood thinning medication). She then took Warfarin for a further six months.
Five years after the DVT in her leg Cecilia was referred by her GP to an orthopaedic consultant following chronic pain in her left knee who diagnosed tri-compartmental osteoarthritis and recommended a total knee replacement.
A year later she attended a pre-admission clinic and her past history of DVT and associated pulmonary embolus was noted. This put her in the high-risk category for a thromboembolitic event. It is the trust's policy to give Warfarin for three months post-operatively to high risk surgical patients, but this somehow got overlooked in CB's case.
Cecilia underwent a left total knee replacement and despite her history she received no pre-operative prophylactic anticoagulation. Post-operatively she received Tinzaparin (a low molecular weight heparin) for five days, but Warfarin was not given.
Two months later, Cecilia collapsed at home with sudden onset of dizziness and shortness of breath. She was admitted to hospital where a diagnosis of PE, secondary to a DVT, was made. She then suffered a respiratory arrest and was rapidly resuscitated before being admitted to ICU where she remained for three days. She received thrombolysis and anticoagulation and was eventually discharged 2 weeks later.
Cecilia has been left with a very painful and swollen left leg and foot that considerably restricts her mobility. She claims this is a direct result of the post operative DVT, rather than the surgery itself or the previous DVT, and is likely to be long term. She now has a post-phlebitic syndrome of the left leg making her prone to further attacks of DVTs and she must now remain on continuous life-long anticoagulant therapy with Warfarin.
JMW Solicitors alleges that, had the hospital protocol for anticoagulation therapy for high risk patients been followed, she would have received Warfarin for three months post-operatively and on the balance of probabilities, she would not have developed the DVT.
The hospital admitted that failure to adhere to the protocol was negligent and made an offer to settle the claim. Cecilia received £100,000 compensation.
Patient Develops Pulmonary Emboli Because of Hospital Oversight. Compensation: £3,500
JMW has been successful in acquiring £25,000 compensation for a woman who developed pulmonary emboli due to hospital oversight.
Helen had her right ovary removed because of an ovarian tumour. All appeared to go well with the surgery and despite quite severe post-operative pain in her back and shoulder she was discharged home after two days. For some reason no anti blood clotting agent was given following her operation despite it being hospital policy to give this to all patients undergoing pelvic surgery.
Once at home the pain in her back and shoulder got steadily worse and she also had some chest pain and difficulty breathing. She had difficulty sleeping because it was painful to lie down. Four days after discharge she was readmitted to hospital with a suspected pulmonary embolus. She was started on anticoagulation and discharged into the care of her GP the following day.
A CT scan some days later showed multiple small pulmonary emboli in both lungs. She was advised that she would need to take Warfarin for six months. She suffered a number of side effects from the Warfarin (fatigue, headaches and dizzy spells) but went on to make a full recovery.
The hospital admitted that Helen should have received prophylactic anticoagulation (Tinzaparin) and the case was settled by Katie Nolan, one of our expert solicitors, for £3,500.
JMW is one of the most experienced and respected clinical negligence solicitors in the UK. Headed by leading solicitor Eddie Jones, the team includes members of the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors panel.
We are able to deal with many claims using no win, no fee agreements. Speak to us today to find out how our expertise can help give you the very best chance of being successful with your DVT claim.
We will guide you throughout the course of your claim, from start to finish, providing our support whenever you need it.