Thrombosis and blood clots It is estimated that 25,000 people who are admitted to hospital die from preventable blood clots each year. This could be avoided by diagnosing blood clots earlier, using measures to prevent blood clots occurring and by thoroughly investigating a patient’s symptoms. When a blood clot forms, it blocks a vein or an artery, obstructing or stopping the flow of blood. A blood clot can occur anywhere in the body’s bloodstream. It is very important that steps are taken to avoid this and that symptoms are recognised at an early stage so further complications can be avoided. The complications associated with thrombosis can be life threatening. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is when a blood clot develops in a vein. This includes:- 1. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) This is the most common type of thromboembolism and occurs in one of the deep veins in your body. Very often this occurs in one of the larger veins in your leg. A DVT can cause pain and swelling in your leg. It is very important that a DVT is diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If it is not treated, part of the clot can break away and can lead to a pulmonary embolism. Although the risk of thrombosis increases with age, anyone can suffer from thrombosis and it affects people in every age group. You are more at risk of developing a DVT if:- You have had a previous venous thromboembolism You have a family history of thrombosis You have medical conditions such as cancer or heart failure You are inactive – for example, after an operation, if you have broken your leg and can’t mobilise, if you are ill and in bed for a long period You are overweight You are pregnant You use an oral contraceptive 2. Pulmonary Embolism (PE) Sometimes part of a blood clot breaks away and travels through your bloodstream. A pulmonary embolism is when a clot becomes lodged in your lungs. This is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition as it can prevent the blood from reaching your lungs. The main symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are:- chest pain – a sharp, stabbing pain that may be worse when you breathe in shortness of breath – which can come on suddenly or develop gradually coughing – which is usually dry, but may include coughing up blood or mucus that contains blood feeling faint, dizzy or sudden collapse To prevent a PE occurring, a DVT must be recognised so that treatment can be administered to prevent the blood clot breaking into the blood stream. Preventative Treatment Anybody can be at risk of developing a thromboembolism and all patients when admitted to Hospital, should be assessed for their risks of developing a blood clot. If it is necessary, you should be provided with preventative treatment. Your healthcare team should make sure you have enough fluids so that you do not become dehydrated. They should also encourage you to move around whenever you are physically able to. You may also be offered treatment to help prevent a DVT occurring. Depending on your risk factors you may be offered: anti-embolism stockings or an intermittent pneumatic compression device to help keep the blood in your legs circulating and / or a small dose of an anticoagulant which thins the blood and helps prevent blood clots forming Thrombosis is a serious and potentially fatal medical condition. However, it is preventable. If you have developed a DVT or a PE and have questions or concerns about specific treatment options, a delay in diagnosis or your risk assessment, please talk to a member of our expert team and we would be happy to discuss this with you in confidence. What could I claim? The value of your claim will depend on a number of factors including: The nature of the injury or illness Whether your child (or you) recover fully from the injury or illness or if it has a long term effect on their health and wellbeing The amount of any losses you incur as a result of the injury You can claim compensation for the following things if they are a result of your injury: Pain, suffering and loss of amenity Loss of earnings Medical and nursing care costs Special equipment needed to carry out daily activities and any costs involved in adapting your home Other expenses incurred as a result of your injury, for example, travel expenses incurred whilst receiving medical treatment. Contact us to speak to one of our specialist lawyers in total confidence and they will discuss the details of your claim. More information NHS Choices website - Conditions - Thrombosis Case studies Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) A gentleman pursued a case in relation to his late wife against Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. She had fractured her leg abroad and took a long flight back home and was crying in pain on the plane back and went straight to A&E when the plane landed. She was assessed, but a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was not suspected despite swelling and pain. Sadly she went on to develop a pulmonary embolism and died a few days later. Liability was admitted by the Trust and the case settled for £200,000. DVT and PE A gentleman pursued a case against Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for a failure to follow guidelines on anticoagulation following complex knee surgery. He remained immobile at home and went on to develop a DVT and PE. Luckily he was rushed to hospital and was saved, but it was alleged he would be at increased risk of future embolism as a result of this episode. Liability was denied, but the matter eventually settled for £17,500.