Pulmonary Embolisms Can Be Fatal If Misdiagnosed

The danger of blood clots in the body is that they can obstruct the flow of blood to a vital organ. For example, a resident in a New Mexico nursing home may be at risk of a blood clot if the person is bedridden and is not shifted frequently enough to allow for sufficient blood flow. Such blood clots may block the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. This kind of blood clot is called a pulmonary embolism. If not diagnosed correctly or in a timely manner, a PE can have dire consequences.

The Mayo Clinic says that while symptoms of pulmonary embolism are not always the same from person to person, there are still common symptoms and signs to look for. These include sudden shortness of breath, which can be exacerbated by exertion. Afflicted individuals may also experience chest pain and believe it is a heart attack. This kind of chest pain can worsen if the person coughs, bends down, stoops, eats or breathes in deeply. Additionally, an afflicted person may cough up blood or sputum with blood streaks.

People with a pulmonary embolism may experience any number of other symptoms. A person’s heartbeat may speed up or become irregular. Dizziness can also manifest, as well as lightheadedness, profuse sweating, skin that turns discolored or clammy, and fevers. Pulmonary embolism may also produce swelling in the leg, typically in the calf, accompanied possibly by pain.

According to Findlaw, pulmonary embolism cases range from 300,000 to 600,000 each year in the United States, with 200,000 estimated fatalities. If PE is diagnosed early enough, anticoagulants or blood thinners can treat the disorder, with oxygen or analgesic administrations depending on the patient’s needs. However, in the event a doctor misdiagnoses a person and fails to detect PE, an individual could suffer a number of problems, from passing out, resulting in a fall that inflicts physical injury, diminished blood pressure at low levels, and in some cases, abrupt death.

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