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Injuries to Mothers

Injuries to Mothers

Blood Clot Dangers during Pregnancy - Failures in Care

It is important to be aware that blood clots can happen at any time and anyone can suffer from them. Being monitored and treated for the signs of a blood clot is the key to treating this illness as it can prove fatal to you and your baby.

It is said that you are, however, up to 10 times more likely to develop a blood clot during pregnancy compared to woman who are the same age and not pregnant. Your medical team including your GP should monitor and regularly check for any signs of a blood clot. Failure to monitor your condition and notice any warning signs could be the difference between life and death.

Venous Thromboembolism in Pregnancy (VTE)

According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Venous Thromboembolism (VTE), remains the ‘main direct cause of maternal death in the UK’.

What is venous thromboembolism?

One of the most common types of venous thromboembolism is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a serious condition where a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs, pelvis, and sometimes other areas like the arms. It can be life threatening if the clot breaks away and travels in the blood until it lodges in an artery blocking the blood flow to the lungs. This is known as a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and requires immediate treatment.

Who is at risk?

You are up to 10 times more likely to develop a blood clot during pregnancy compared to women who are the same age and not pregnant. A clot can develop at any stage of pregnancy but you are more at risk of developing a blood clot during the first three months of pregnancy and up to the six weeks after birth.

Your medical team would be expected to recognise those people who are at high risk of developing an embolism for example those people who are smokers, overweight, have been immobile for long periods of time or who have had recent surgery or injury. Your medical team would be expected to act promptly to prevent an embolism.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a DVT can be mild. You may have a swollen or red leg that is warm to touch. It may or may not be painful, and you may think that you simply have a cramp in your leg, when in fact these are symptoms of an embolism. Breathlessness, chest pain, shoulder pain and/or coughing up blood could mean that you have a PE.

Your medical team would be expected to recognise these signs and symptoms and to act immediately by starting blood thinners (anticoagulation therapy) in an attempt to dissolve the clot.

Unfortunately, there are occasions when your general practitioner, midwife or obstetrician may fail to properly take into consideration your medical and family history or your presenting symptoms and they make a wrong diagnosis. They may fail to carry out further investigations such as referring you for an ultrasound scan or a simple blood test (D-dimer), which would confirm the presence of a DVT and avoid a fatal pulmonary embolism.

If your medical team make a mistake and fail to recognise the signs of a blood clot and fail to administer clot-busting medication then this would be classed as substandard medical care and you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

How can a solicitor help you?

We recognise that if someone you love has died as a result of a failure to promptly diagnose and treat a VTE (blood clot) then someone will be left without a partner or wife and the children will be left without a mother.

There would be a loss of income dependency and services and love and affection as a result of that death, putting a severe strain on the financial, psychological and physical health of the whole family.

Our medical negligence team are recognised experts in conducting bereavement claims and will be able to secure a financial settlement that will enable you to seek the extra support you need, and to help you try and move forward as a family.

Get In Touch or Call us on 0800 195 8467