Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Air Embolism? July 5, 2012.

Right Diagnosis defines an air embolism as "a condition which is characterized by air bubbles entering the circulation usually due to trauma, decompression sickness, or surgery."

Signs and symptoms include:

  • heart problems;
  • chest pain;
  • seizures;
  • pale skin;
  • low blood pressure;
  • fatigue; and
  • blurred vision.

If a doctor fails to recognize these symptoms, he or she can be sued for medical malpractice – particularly if the patient suffers a heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, or dies once air bubbles block a vein or an artery. A doctor may also be held liable if:

  • his or her actions caused the embolism during a transfusion or surgery, as an intravenous drug was injected, or while an IV line was removed; or
  • he or she neglected to treat the embolism by placing the patient in a hyperbaric chamber, administering oxygen, or positioning the patient to prevent the embolism from reaching the heart or the brain.

A successfully malpractice claim must first prove that the physician was negligent. This is done by showing that no reasonable doctor in his position would have provided such substandard care, either in causing, failing to diagnose, or failing to properly treat the air embolism.

The next step is to prove that the doctor’s negligence in contributing to, failing to diagnose, or failing treat the air embolism directly led to your injury. Often, physicians will argue that the outcome would have been the same even if they had provided better care.

If you do not suffer a loss, you cannot be compensated even if the doctor was negligent. Therefore, it is important to consult a Cleveland medical malpractice attorney who can help you prove that the doctor caused an injury that would not have occurred if not for his negligence.

The final step is proving the extent of the injury suffered. Any medical costs made necessary by the doctor’s failure should be compensated, as should pain and suffering, time missed from work, and emotional distress. Family members of a deceased patient should file a wrongful death lawsuit.

For more information, request our free Ohio medical malpractice guide or contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Mellino Law Firm for a free consultation.