The Surgeon General announced a new program to create awareness that many Americans are ignoring calf pain that can be a warning sign of blood clots. The blood clots often referred to as a Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT form in large veins such as the calf or groin. If the DVT moves up to the lungs, where it is called a pulmonary embolism or PE it can result in death. The Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson says "I don't think most people understand that this is a serious medical problem or what can be done to prevent it." The Surgeon General estimates that between 350,000 and 600,000 people per year get DVT's and that approximately 100,000 people per year die of PEs. Certain people are at increased risk for developing DVT's. Those include people who had recent surgery, broken bones, pregnancy, on birth control, being immobile for long periods, smoking, obesity and genetic predisposition.In order to help prevent deaths from PEs the Surgeon General is starting a program to educate patients about the signs and symptoms of a DVT and/or PE. These signs and symptoms include swelling, pain especially in the calf, redness, warm to the touch, shortness of breath or pain when breathing deeply. However, doctors also need to be more educated about DVT and PE as studies suggest that almost a third of patients who need protective blood thinners when they have major surgery don't get them. In addition to the Surgeon General report, the Agency for Healthcare and Research and Quality is issuing a 12 page booklet for patients about DVTs and a 60 page DVT prevention and treatment guide for doctors.At Berger & Lagnese, our lawyers have represented people in the Pittsburgh area who as a result of medical malpractice developed PEs. If you or a loved believes that you developed a PE as a result of negligence, please contact us.