Deep Vein Thrombosis Guidelines
Copyright (c) 2012 Julie Glynn
Every year in the UK, around 25,000 of hospital patient’s will die from a preventable blood clot. If this has happened to a loved one, or if you yourself have suffered from a clot that could have been avoided, is there any action you can take?
Assessing the Risk.
In response to the worrying number of people who die from preventable clots each year, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a set of guidelines titled ‘Venous Thromboembolism – Reducing the Risk’.
Implemented in January 2010, the guidelines focus upon the need to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) from developing in the first place. But what exactly is DVT? In brief, it is a medical condition in which a clot occurs in one of the body’s deep veins, usually in the leg. This can cause a number of complications. In particular, if this clot becomes dislodged it will travel up the bloodstream and potentially get stuck in the lungs, blocking the blood supply. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening.
Identifying At-Risk Patients.
Due to being unwell and inactive, hospital patients are especially vulnerable to developing DVT. That is why the NICE guidelines have made it compulsory for all hospital admissions to undergo a blood clot risk assessment. This will help to establish whether or not a patient has an increased chance of blood clots. Amongst others, this will include those who:-
* Are having an operation on the lower part of the body;
* Are having an operation that lasts over 90 minutes;
* Are confined to bed;
* Have a history (or family history) of blood clots;
* Present other risk factors such as obesity, smoking, pregnancy and other genetic or medical conditions.
If a patient is found to be at risk of suffering from DVT, preventative treatment should be given. This should be tailored to suit the individual, and may involve compression stockings or anti-coagulant medication to help thin the blood.
Failure to Follow DVT Guidelines.
By following the guidelines set out by NICE, DVT mortality rates can be reduced to as little as two deaths in every 100 sufferers. However, not all NHS Trusts are carrying out the simple risk-assessments steps, even though it is now a requirement.
If medical professionals fail to assess a patient, or neglect to implement the necessary preventative treatment, the consequences could be devastating. Indeed, it is thought some 10,000 patients have died from DVT because hospital staff failed to follow guidelines.
Seek Legal Advice.
If you or a loved one has suffered from DVT in a hospital which could have been prevented, you need to seek expert legal advice. A medical negligence solicitor will be able to listen to the facts of your case before suggesting whether there has been an incidence of medical negligence.
If the level of care has indeed fallen below an acceptable standard, it will be possible to make a medical negligence claim. This will allow you to claim compensation for the pain and suffering caused, as well as to recover any finances you have lost as a direct result of the hospital’s negligence.
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