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Elbow Surgery Causes Brain Damage | Daytona Malpractice Lawyer

Elbow Surgery Causes Brain Damage From Pulmonary Embolism Blood Clot

In this case, a 61-year-old woman suffered brain damage from a blood clot following surgery for her broken elbow.

The woman received a surgery called open reduction internal fixation or ORIF which used plates and screws to repair her elbow or humerus fracture. She was discharged from the hospital and instructed to call her doctor if she noticed redness and swelling at the elbow or any bloody discharge, fever of more than 101.5 or uncontrolled pain.

Five days after her surgery, she noticed some pain behind her knee but did not think anything of it – likely because she was not instructed to take note of it and the pain was not near the surgical site. However, two days later she suffered brain damage from a pulmonary embolism blood clot that cut off blood and oxygen flow.

Medical experts in this case gave the expert opinion that failure to give warnings/instructions for pulmonary embolisms or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is not medical negligence because they are so rare following upper extremity surgery. In fact they only occur in less than 0.5 percent of cases.

However, a doctor does commit negligence if she fails to recognize signs or symptoms of blood clots when patients report them. Deep vein thrombosis blood clots can cause swelling in your legs or less commonly in your arm. One of the most important signs is tenderness in your calf.

Tenderness in the legs and increased skin temperature can also indicate DVT. Either redness or bluish skin discoloration are also signs as is discomfort when you pull your foot up.

A high leg DVT can cause the veins near the surface of your skin to become visible in the thigh, hip and even lower abdomen.

For more on medical safety issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach medical malpractice attorney.


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