June 1st, 2013
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Pulmonary embolism (PE) is not an uncommon disease, and is easily misdiagnosed, resulting in litigation against emergency department (ED) physicians. This article will use legal cases to illustrate medical caveats regarding PE.
In the course of medical malpractice litigation, the plaintiff attorney claimed the emergency physician (EP) didnt see a patient with respiratory failure until 15 minutes after arrival. This was what the electronic medical records (EMR) time stamp showed, but it wasnt the case.
After a 50-year-old man told an emergency physician (EP) that he thought his upper back pain was a result of using a pull crank to start his mower, the EP did a brief musculo-skeletal history and physical exam focused on the patients back pain, and discharged him with anti-inflammatory medication.
When a 37-year-old pregnant woman presented to an ED with right upper quadrant pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, communication between the emergency physician (EP) and the patients obstetrician became a key issue in the ensuing malpractice litigation.