Coumadin (known generically as warfarin sodium) is a powerful blood thinning drug highly effective in preventing strokes, heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, and other blood clotting problems, but if its administration is not properly managed, it can cause catastrophic internal bleeding, injury or even death.

If you or a loved one has suffered an adverse bleeding event or other serious side effects from Coumadin overdose, you may be entitled to compensation for damages suffered. Contact Ward Black Law of Greensboro, N.C. today! Our medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience handling claims regarding the misuse of Coumadin/warfarin and Coumadin overdose and offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. Call 800-531-9191 to discuss your potential Coumadin overdose medical malpractice case today.

What is Coumadin?

Coumadin is one of the oldest anti-coagulants (blood thinners) on the market. It is also one of the most widely-used, prescribed in the form of oral tablets to prevent blood clots, strokes and heart attacks. The term “blood thinner” is actually a bit of a misnomer because the drug does not lower a patient’s blood pressure, but inhibits the synthesis of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. This impedes the blood’s ability to coagulate, preventing the simultaneous formation of blood clots and embolisms, which can induce a heart attack or stroke.

Coumadin effectively prevents lethal health events in Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Atrial Fibrillation patients, but may also cause severe to potentially fatal side effects, including episodes of internal bleeding. But how do you know if you’re bleeding internally? The signs and symptoms include:

  • Severe, uncontrolled or prolonged bleeding (bleeding of the gums, frequent nose bleeds, menstrual bleeding that is heavier than normal, vaginal bleeding)
  • Pink or brown urine
  • Red or black stools (with a tar-like appearance)
  • Easy bruising, bruising with no known cause or enlargement of existing bruises
  • Coughing up blood or blood clots
  • Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
  • Headaches, dizziness or weakness
  • Swelling, tenderness or joint pain

When Is It Medical Malpractice?

Coumadin may take several days to take effect and requires close monitoring to determine correct dosage. Coumadin also reacts to a number of foods and medications. Moreover, the drug’s therapeutic range is narrow: too little Coumadin, and there’s a chance for dangerous blood clots, too much, and the patient is at risk for severe internal bleeding, hemorrhagic stroke and death. Your healthcare provider is required to follow an applicable standard of care, and should prescribe and monitor Coumadin with caution. Your physician should:

  • Closely monitor your INR (Internalized Normalized Ratio), or anticoagulation, level – The drug’s therapeutic range is narrow: 2 to 3, so the difference between a safe dosage of Coumadin and a potentially lethal one is small. Your doctor should run frequent blood tests.
  • Ask for a thorough patient history – Several factors can magnify Coumadin’s potency, including your kidney and liver function, alcohol consumption, age and medical history.
  • Provide dietary guidance – Coumadin negatively reacts to a number of foods, so your physician should educate you about the potentially dangerous side effects.
  • Recognize and properly manage excessive blood thinning – If your INR level is abnormally high or you’re presenting with symptoms of internal bleeding, immediate hospitalization and administration of vitamin-K, usually intravenously, is required to reverse Coumadin’s anti-coagulant effect.

If your physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner deviates from this applicable standard of care, and you or a loved one suffers injury or death due to a Coumadin overdose, you may have a medical malpractice claim. In order to prevail in a medical malpractice claim in N.C., you must prove that your care provider breached the standard of care during the course of your treatment and provide expert testimony to support your case.

Contact a Coumadin Overdose Lawyer in N.C.

If you or someone you know has suffered a Coumadin overdose and experienced severe side effects, including a fatal bleed, contact Ward Black Law in Greensboro, N.C. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses, such as injury, disability, death, wage loss, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Our attorneys are standing by to answer your questions related to Coumadin overdose, evaluate your claim and advocate for your rights. Call Ward Black Law today at 336-333-2244, or toll-free at 1-800-531-9191. You may also reach Ward Black Law by email or online inquiry.

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