Deep Vein Thrombosis Kills 42 Year Old Woman
As a Delaware medical malpractice lawyer, I stay up to date on malpractice trials around the country. Earlier this month in Illinois, the family of a 42 year old woman who died from blood clots after having outpatient knee surgery was recently awarded more than $6 million by a jury. The woman had been having knee pain, but because it was getting worse, her family doctor referred her to an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation. At first, the surgeon gave her an injection for the pain, and some physical therapy. The surgeon then ordered an MRI, after which he decided to perform arthroscopic surgery which took less than an hour. She was taken home by her daughter,, but the next day she was found dead on her on the bathroom floor.
Her death was caused a pulmonary embolism that occurred when deep venous thromboids that had formed at the site of the surgery traveled to her lung. The jury found that the surgeon ignored several risk factors that should have indicated that blood clotting could be a problem: the patient was somewhat obese and was taking birth control pills; she also had a personal history of asthma and hypertension and a family history of heart disease and stroke.
Had the surgeon considered these risk factors, he could have taken precautions after the surgery that should have prevented the blood clots from forming.
Interestingly, the family's lawyer had demanded $2 million to settle the case, but the insurnace company refused to settle.
Blood clots in the large veins (deep venous thrombosis) is common after othopedic surgery. When a patient is considered at risk for blood clots, all the surgeon has to do is put the patient on blood thinning medication.