Medical expert witness and Chief Editor of web-based eMedicine Dr. Erik Schraga would like legal professionals and experts to know that eMedicine offers continually updated clinical reference information which may prove useful in cases they are working on. The following excerpt on cardiology provides information on pulmonary embolism medicolegal pitfalls.
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is an extremely common disorder. It presents with nonspecific clinical features and requires specialized investigations for confirmation of diagnosis. Therefore, many patients die from unrecognized pulmonary embolism. The other common pitfalls are as follows:
* Disregarding patient’s complaints of unexplained dyspnea as anxiety or hyperventilation
* Blaming complaints of unexplained chest pain on musculoskeletal pain
* Failing to recognize, diagnose, and treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
* Failing to initiate an appropriate diagnostic workup in patients with symptoms consistent with pulmonary embolism
* Failing to initiate therapeutic anticoagulant therapy with heparin in patients suspected to have pulmonary embolism, before the V/Q scan or other investigations