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Are there any risk factors associated with pulmonary embolism?

When a person in Los Angeles goes to see a doctor with symptoms, they're expecting the correct diagnosis and treatment to take steps to solve the issue. If the doctor makes a mistake, there are times when the error is innocuous and no long-term damage is done. However, if there is the misdiagnosis of a fatal condition or symptoms that might indicate a potential fatal condition, it can result in a wrongful death. One particular medical problem that often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed is pulmonary embolism.

If a pulmonary artery in the lungs becomes blocked, this is known as a pulmonary embolism. This results from a blood clot that travels to the lungs from the legs. It can also come from other areas of the body. While no one is immune to developing blood clots that can lead to pulmonary embolism, there are risk factors associated with the condition.

For patients who may be exhibiting symptoms of pulmonary embolism, it's important for medical professionals to take a look at family medical history. Those who have a history of heart disease and certain cancers may have an increased risk. In addition, a person may risk suffering from a blood clot if he or she is subject to long periods of immobility, like bed rest; or long trips in an airplane or vehicle.

Surgery is a leading cause of blood clots, and the risk may increase when a person is under general anesthesia for a long period of time. Additional risk factors include pregnancy, being overweight, smoking and taking estrogen supplements.

Given the risk factors and understanding how dangerous pulmonary embolism can be, if a doctor misses these signals or doesn't send a patient for treatment immediately, it can result in a fatality. If there is a belief that a wrongful death occurred when it might have been prevented had the medical professionals recognized the signals and given immediate treatment, it's important to discuss the matter with a legal professional experienced in cases involving a doctor mistake.

Source: MayoClinic.org, "Pulmonary embolism risk factors," accessed on Jan. 20, 2015

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