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Misdiagnosis of internal bleeding

If you or a loved one has suffered from internal bleeding that was misdiagnosed contact our specialist clinical negligence team who are experts in misdiagnosis claims.Our team includes experienced internal injuries solicitors, who will be able to give you advice and guide you through the process of pursuing a claim for compensation, call us on 01616 966 229 for free initial advice.

What is internal bleeding?

Internal bleeding is the loss of blood from circulation in your body. It cannot be seen from outside the body like bleeding from a cut can. It usually occurs because blood escapes from an artery or vein where it then collects inside the body. 

What causes internal bleeding?

Internal bleeding can be caused by a number of reasons. It can be caused naturally due a person’s genetic condition, for example if someone has a blood clotting disorder or it can be caused as a result of trauma, such as being involved in a road traffic accident. 

Sometimes internal bleeding can resolve itself, particularly if it is not severe, however on a number of occasions treatment will be required either by blood transfusions and fluid replacement or by way of an operation. The key issue is that the bleeding is identified and treated at the earliest opportunity to reduce the extent of harm and injury caused to you.

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What are the symptoms of internal bleeding?

The signs and symptoms of internal bleeding depend on where the bleed is located in the body, how much bleeding has occurred and the effect that this has had on the surrounding parts of the body. However a lot of people suffer with general symptoms such as pain, swelling, dizziness or feeling faint, headaches or loss of consciousness, which can also be internal bleeding signs.

In order to diagnose the bleed and the cause, it is important that a doctor takes a history from you about your symptoms and examines you accordingly. Blood tests might need to be performed and in most occasions some form of imaging will need to be carried out such as a CT scan or ultrasound scan, so that the doctor can see if there is bleeding and where it is. Where a person is critically ill from internal bleeding a doctor may need to make a decision to perform an emergency operation in order to locate, diagnose and treat the internal bleeding without being able to perform any other tests first.

Our medical negligence team have dealt with a number of claims concerning internal bleeding diagnosis and either delays or misdiagnosis of the problem. Some of the most common examples are:

Intracranial bleeding

This is bleeding within the skull. It can be caused by trauma such as a bang to the head or from an aneurysm (a swelling of an artery). It often causes pain but it may also alter your mental function. Sometimes the level or cause of the pain is underestimated and the symptoms can be mistaken for a migraine. This can have catastrophic consequences with the person suffering a stroke, seizures, brain damage or even death.

Intra-abdominal bleeding 

This is bleeding within the abdomen area. If the bleeding is in the stomach, a person may vomit bright red blood. A person may pass blood in their stool if the bleed is in the stomach, colon or rectum. Undiagnosed, the condition is life threatening. However if detected early enough then it may be possible to be treated with fluids and blood transfusions whilst the bleed is reabsorbed back into the body. Unfortunately, sometimes in these cases, the bleeding is not detected early enough by medical staff and due to the length of time the bleeding is left, surgery is required to treat the bleed. In other instances, the symptoms are misdiagnosed as conditions such as gastroenteritis and there is delay in treating the actual problem leading to the need for surgery. This leaves the patient with scarring as well as causing further pain and suffering.      

Bleeding within the muscles after surgery

This is known as compartment syndrome. Sometimes, bleeding and swelling in the muscles causes pressure to rise within the muscle compartments. It can occur after surgery in the hand, the forearm, the upper arm, the buttocks, the leg, the foot and the abdomen. However compartment syndrome most commonly occurs in the leg below the knee. Sometimes the condition is not detected in a timely manner by the doctors and it can affect the blood supply to muscles in the affected compartment and can result in death (necrosis) of the muscles which can severely and permanently affect a person’s mobility. 

If your bleeding was misdiagnosed or not diagnosed quickly enough to prevent further injury, this could be considered clinical negligence and it’s sometimes possible to make compartment syndrome claims for compensation.

How to treat internal bleeding

The treatment for internal bleeding will depend very much on the type of bleeding and the severity of the issue, along with how long the bleeding has been going on for. A delay or misdiagnosis of internal bleeding can mean that the treatment needed is more serious, with a higher risk of something going wrong. Internal bleeding treatment should ideally be administered as quickly as possible to prevent further issues or complications.

Internal bleeding treatment can include blood transfusions and fluids, but in some cases will require emergency surgery. A delay in treatment can have really serious consequences.

Is internal bleeding fatal?

Internal bleeding can be fatal in some cases, either if the problem isn’t found in time for the right treatment to be given, or if the bleeding cannot be stopped even with treatment. A delay in diagnosing the issue, or a misdiagnosis that means the right treatment isn’t provided promptly, can sometimes sadly lead to death. If the negligence of medical professionals resulted in fatal internal bleeding in a family member or close loved one, you may be able to make a claim on their behalf, which can help to bring a sense of justice for the avoidable loss of life.

If you think you have suffered a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of internal bleeding and you want to speak to a member of our clinical negligence team about a compensation claim, call us for some free initial advice on 01616 966 229 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

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