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J R Soc Med. 2006 January; 99(1): 5.
PMCID: PMC1325072

Venous thromboprophylaxis in UK medical inpatients

The medicolegal implications of the Rashid et al. findings need to be considered by the ‘DVT-unaware clinicians’ in this study.1 There have been medico-legal claims in surgical patients resulting from a failure to provide venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis that have been settled in favour of the Claimant.2,3 These were successful when it was shown that a patient with identifiable risk factors, who developed a DVT/PE following surgery, had not undergone risk assessment and/or received appropriate prophylaxis. Although Rashid et al. have not stated whether any of their study group went onto develop a DVT/PE, it has been reported that 10% of hospital deaths are a result of VTE; and that many of these should be preventable deaths.4

Only 30% of medical patients in the high-risk group (which includes history of previous VTE) reported received prophylaxis! Potential claims from medical patients who developed an in-hospital VTE could be difficult to defend if they were not undergoing VTE risk assessment and did not receive appropriate prophylaxis. This should be considered by the ‘DVT-unaware clinicians’.


Competing interests JHS is involved in the development of a food supplement, zinapin, for preventing travel thrombosis.


1. Rashid ST, Thursz MR, Razvi NA, et al. Venous thromboprophylaxis in UK medical inpatients. J R Soc Med 2005;98: 507. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. The Medical Protection Society. Omitted thromboprophylaxis. Casebook 2004;12: 24
3. Goodwin H. Litigation and surgical practice in the UK. Br J Surg 2000;87: 977-9 [PubMed]
4. The House of Commons: Health Select Committee. The Prevention Of Venous Thromboembolism In Hospitalized Patients. London: House of Commons, 2005 []

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