Bleeding disorders can result from potentially multiple causes leading to either a hypercoagulation disorder or to disorders in which the blood does not properly clot, leading to excessive and possibly uncontrollable bleeding.
Hypercoagulation generally refers to conditions where there is excessive blood clotting.
Hypercoagulation can lead to the formation of blood clots within the blood vessels. These conditions are referred to as thrombosis or phlebitis.
Hypercoagulation disorders leading to the formation of blood vessel clots are associated with severe and potentially fatal consequences.
Once a blood clot, or “thrombus,” forms within a blood vessel, the clot can become dislodged into the circulatory system. Once dislodged, the clot can be carried into the lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolus, or into the brain, causing a stroke.
There are several well-recognized risk factors for the development of hypercoagulation disorders. One risk factor is prolonged immobility, such as remaining in a seated position for an extended period of time.
Hypercoagulation disorders leading to the formation of a thrombus are also strongly associated with major surgery. In particular, individuals undergoing joint replacement surgery may be at particularly high risk for the development of a hypercoagulation disorder leading to the formation of a deep vein thrombosis.
In some individuals, hypercoagulation disorders are associated with genetic disorders leading to abnormalities in the production of certain anti-clotting proteins which are necessary to maintain a balanced state of coagulation.
In individuals at risk for developing a hypercoagulation disorder, a safe and careful physician will order various blood tests to assess how long it takes the patient’s blood to clot and to determine the presence and levels of clotting factors which are necessary for normal clotting function.
Hypercoagulation can be treated through the use of medications which are intended to prevent abnormal blood clotting. Such medications include Heparin and Warfarin, which is also known as Coumadin. Heparin and Coumadin are frequently administered to individuals undergoing major surgical procedures where there is an increased risk for the development of a hypercoagulation disorder.
In many instances, an unsafe or careless physician will fail to assess or treat hypercoagulation disorders, thereby directly leading to potentially devastating consequences.
In contrast to a hypercoagulation disorder, other bleeding disorders are characterized by excessive or uncontrolled bleeding.
Individuals with a coagulation disorder leading to excessive bleeding may exhibit frequent or easy bruising, spontaneous nosebleeds or unusually excessive bleeding from small cuts.
Coagulation disorders associated with excessive bleeding can be caused by certain illnesses and disease processes, such as Vitamin K deficiency or liver disease.
Pregnant women sometimes develop coagulation disorders leading to excessive bleeding or disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).
Coagulation disorders associated with excessive bleeding may also have genetic causes, such as in cases of hemophilia or von Willebrand disease.
As with hypercoagulation disorders, excessive bleeding disorders can be treated with various medications or through the replacement of diminished or absent blood factors.
The negligent or poorly trained physician may fail to test for or treat coagulation disorders leading to excessive bleeding thereby exposing their patients to the increased risk of death or serious bodily injury associated with the onset of acute anemia, hypovolemic shock or cardiovascular collapse.
The Law Firm of Dugan, Babij, Tolley & Kohler, LLC has extensive experience in representing families whose loved ones have been injured or died as a result of medical malpractice associated with the failure to diagnose or treat bleeding disorders.