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DVT deaths warning

13th July 2011

NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh has said hospitals in England will be "named and shamed" if they do not screen patients for deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

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Trusts are meant to carry out screenings of 90% of patients but less than 50% are able to manage to do this at the current time.

The health service has estimated that 25,000 deaths are caused every year by DVT in hospitals.

Another estimate said only one in four patients were screened and another trust carried out only one in 10.

Sir Bruce said the amount of screening was "absolutely disgraceful" and added "in the sort of NHS that I want to work in and be treated in, I don't think that level of practice is acceptable".  

DVT is caused when blood clots in the legs. It can lead to death if a clot travels to the lungs and leads to a pulmonary embolism.

If trusts do not meet the screening guidelines, they could face a cut of 0.3% of their income.

Sir Bruce told BBC Radio 4's Face the Facts that he would name the trusts with the worst records of screening if they did not improve.

He said: "Some 25,000 people die a year from something that is preventable. The same sort of number which die from stroke and other major conditions which are far less preventable."

"Of course this is fairly early on in this initiative but we need to be firm about those that are failing to improve." 

 

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Comments

Edward Bulfin

Thursday 14th July 2011 @ 9:56

The comment made of "If trusts do not meet the screening guidelines, they could face a cut of 0.3% of their income" is a dangerous one.

Many of the trusts who fail to screen correctly are the ones that have already faced cuts this year and are facing even bigger cuts in the coming two years. How can any trust maintain and improve their services when they are facing continued cuts.

Other points on this broadcast: NHS boss threatens to 'name and shame' hospitals over DVT deaths! Perhaps Sir Bruce Keogh should actually name them and not just threaten it. It is not just cut backs, so hospital savings by reducing the managerial staff (as mentioned in another comment) would make no difference to the overall lack of understanding and care in the medical environment.

DVT's can kill or maim for life from complications, with doctors often dismissing the patients from complacency and a lack of time and understanding to actually listen to the patient. Most doctors and triage staff will instantly dismiss the thought of a DVT if there is severe pain, but no redness or visible swelling and do not order any tests to prove or disprove a DVT. 80% of patients with Antiphospholipid Syndrome or APS (a clotting disorder) who had DVT’s are in agreement that there was not any redness or swelling in their DVT’s and that it was only their persistence and threats of legal action that junior doctors, with their whole career still ahead of them, did ultrasound and CT scans. The other 20% did have redness and swelling, but some had no pain which made it difficult for them to get an accurate diagnosis without resorting to being ‘troublesome’ before they were listened to.

The next cause of death or loss of limbs from DVT’s is the reliance on the ridiculously inaccurate D-Dimer test which can be false negative in (I think this is right as I don’t have the studies to hand)6% of cases and that false negative increases dramatically in patients with APS to nearer 20% (there has been no study as to why that is the case). Once a false D-Dimer test result is seen the patient is given some idiotic diagnosis, a couple of Paracetamol or Ibuprofen and sent home. They usually get better treatment when the leg turns Gangrenous or the clot breaks away to cause a Pulmonary Embolism or heart attack.

Sir Bruce Keogh should name and shame the doctors and the hospitals allowing the patients families to finally get apologies and the real reason for their loved ones dying from an easily treatable clotting event.

Another problem with lack of treatment for a possible DVT in an APS patient is the perpetual loss of notes between A&E, assessment wards and admissions wards. This happens in nearly every admission that I have had in the last 10 years. Notes on drugs needed, INR levels, family histories and current health problems have to be repeated every step of the way as they "can't find them".

Regards Eddie

Anonymous

Thursday 14th July 2011 @ 15:13

my painful swelling above knee was attributed by GP to be "superficial phlebitis", treated with Hirudoid ointment only. Subsequently I developed dvt and multiple pulmonary emboli.


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