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Protecting yourself against a missed pulmonary embolism diagnosis

Pulmonary embolisms are potentially life-endangering conditions. This condition occurs when a blockage forms in one of the arteries spanning into the lungs. In most cases, the blockage is caused by blood clots. Most come from the legs.

Pulmonary embolisms are dangerous because the blood flow to the lungs is hindered. The good news is that getting treatment right away does greatly increase your chance of survival and protect you against future embolisms.

Diagnosing a pulmonary embolism

Part of the reason why it's hard to diagnose a pulmonary embolism is that it has similar symptoms to other illnesses. Some common signs include:

  • Coughing that produces blood
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty taking a deep breath
  • Shortness of breath

You may also notice signs such as a fever or dizziness.

What risk factors are associated with pulmonary embolisms?

Your medical provider should ask for risk factors to help him or her rule out the possibility of a pulmonary embolism. You're at a higher risk of an embolism if you are on bed rest or take long trips in a single position. Cancer, heart disease and surgery all increase your risk of a pulmonary embolism affecting you. If you have any of these risk factors in your medical history, your medical provider should consider an embolism as a potential cause of your symptoms and take steps to rule one out. Prompt treatment could save your life.

If you suffer from an embolism or lose a loved one to one, you have rights. If it was a missed diagnosis, there is a chance you can obtain compensation for your loved one's wrongful death.

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