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Medical Expert DVT Opinion | Daytona Beach Surgical Negligence Lawyer

Medical Expert Opinion: Deep Vein Thrombosis After Ankle Surgery

A 50-year-old man broke both of his heels at work on a construction site when he slipped and fell off a roof. Doctors performed surgery to repair one heel, but the man died several days after surgery from blood clots (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) that travelled to his lungs.

The man’s heel fractures required that he put no weight at all on his feet. Being confined to wheelchairs and beds is a risk factor for developing blood clots.

While the most common risk factor for DVT is recent surgery or hospitalization, additional risk factors include advanced age, obesity, infection, immobilization, tobacco usage and air travel.

This man smoked three packs of cigarettes per day, weighed 230 pounds and stood 6 feet tall. That means that he exhibited three risk factors at least: recent surgery, immobilization, and tobacco usage.

The legal/medical question that only a medical expert could answer was, “Should the doctors have recognized this man was at risk for DVT and given him a preventive dose of blood thinning medication?”

Three medical experts opined that no set standard for DVT prevention exists in situations involving foot and ankle surgery so the lawsuit, if filed, would likely end up in a gray zone where medical experts could not say one way or the other whether the doctors breached the standard of care because no standard exists.

So despite that this man exhibited at least three risk factors for DVT, no medical expert could say the doctor was negligent in the case because no guidelines exist to say when doctors should administer blood-thinners to patients like this one, the best way to administer the medication or for how long the medication should be administered.

In Florida, an injury victim cannot file a medical malpractice claim unless a doctor similar to the defendant doctor will testify that reasonable grounds exist to believe that the defendant acted negligently.

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


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