A pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that is a specific risk factor for surgeries, especially those that last for more than two hours. Failure to detect a pulmonary embolism can lead to a sudden death.
A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that often begins in the lower extremities and travels to the lungs. The symptoms can be chest pain, chest tightness, difficulty breathing. Certain patients are more susceptible to others for a pulmonary embolism. Those patients who are obese, have had a surgery for more than two hours, and are advanced in age should be monitored very closely for pulmonary embolism. Another group susceptible to pulmonary embolism are those patients who’ve undergone a hip or knee replacement. Both procedures are lengthy and the patient sustains significant trauma in the orthopedic replacement surgery. Patients recovering from hip or knee replacements are at a significant risk for developing pulmonary emboli and must be monitored carefully and regularly.
If a patient poses a risk for developing a pulmonary embolism, the healthcare team has a duty to take certain precautionary measures such as TED stockings to keep blood from settling in the legs, sequential compression devices to keep blood flowing, and the administration of a blood thinner such as Coumadin or Lovinox.
These measures constitute a generally accepted standard of care used to prevent the onset of pulmonary emboli in post-surgical patients.;If that standard of care is not met, there is the possibility that the medical staff was negligent in its medical care.