An anticoagulant drug proves to be fatal with out proper monitoring of the medication. Coumadin, also known as Warfarin, is a blood thinning prescription used in patients to prevent blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Coumadin is mostly prescribed to patients with an artificial heart valve, atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat), deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins), and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the veins). However, when the drug is not properly monitored it can lead to devastating results.
Coumadin, similar to other drugs, must be carefully monitored almost everyday during a patients first month on the drug. Since the drug is a blood thinner, doctors must be extremely cautious in watching how thin the blood gets. When blood becomes too thin, it could eventually cause a patient to bleed to death, whether or not they have open wounds. If the blood does not thin, a patient could suffer from blood clots, possibly leading to a heart attack, stroke or even death. Once blood clots have formed, there is very little doctors can do in order to stop them, which is why patients taking Coumadin need to be carefully monitored.
During a patients first month on the drug, every day they should undergo either a prothrombin time (PT) test or an international normalized ratio (INR) test. Both tests are blood tests that measure how long it takes for the patient’s blood to clot. The tests also check for bleeding problems and determine how well the blood thinning medicine is working. The only difference between the tests is the INR test is a way of standardizing the results of the PT tests, allowing doctors to understand results even if they come from different testing methods or different labs. The PT and INR tests are crucial for doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes and care providers to maintain in order to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the medicine.
As all medicines do, Coumadin affects each patient differently. Age and health backgrounds may alter the performance and side effects of the drug for each person. Those responsible for the testing, whether it is the primary care doctor, hospital or nursing home, should know the risks and warnings that come with the drug.
If you or a loved one have ever taken Coumadin and have suffered from the drug not properly being monitored or have had serious side effects that you were not warned about, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. At Borchardt Law Firm, we have seen and dealt with many cases involving Coumadin and several other failed prescription drugs due to the negligence of those responsible for the monitoring. We wish no family has to ever experience a tragedy caused by negligence, but feel the work we do will continue to protect future generations of Texans. Feel free to give us a call.
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