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Air Embolism After IV Treatment For NFL Player

It’s been a rough season for football players involving medical errors. First, Tyrod Taylor suffered a punctured lung caused by the team doctor trying to inject painkillers. Then Raiders player Trent Brown was hospitalized after an air bubble got into his bloodstream after being given a pregame IV.

Hospitalization for Raiders Tackle After IV Error

Trent Brown is a tackle for the Las Vegas Raiders. He missed the November 1st game against Cleveland with what was initially classified as an illness. However, it was later revealed that air was injected into Brown’s bloodstream after receiving an IV. Air in the bloodstream is very dangerous and can cause an air embolism. 

Trent Brown played college football at the University of Florida. In 2015, Brown was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. He was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury and traded to the New England Patriots. After the 2018 Super Bowl winning season, Brown signed a 4-year contract with the Raiders. On October 21, 2020, Brown was placed on the reserve/COVID list and activated on October 30th.  

Brown was hospitalized after the pregame medical error. The NFL Players Association has indicated they are launching an investigation. An air embolism is the kind of error that does not generally occur when providing proper medical care. 

Air Embolism

Air in the bloodstream can be dangerous because it can block the blood flow to certain areas of the body. An embolism is caused by an embolus, in this case, an air bubble that blocks a blood vessel, preventing the part of the body from getting oxygenated blood. Without oxygen, that part of the body can suffer damage, cell death, and can lead to death. 

An air embolism that blocks blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke. An ischemic stroke is diminished blood flow to the brain caused by an obstruction or blockage. Ischemic stroke is the most common type, accounting for about 87% of strokes. An air embolism that impairs blood supply to the spinal cord can cause a spinal stroke. 

Signs and symptoms of a stroke can include: 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body
  • Face drooping
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or trouble understanding speech
  • Dizziness, loss of balance, or difficulty walking
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes

Embolism and Improper Medical Care

If a doctor negligently causes an air embolism, it can cause serious and permanent damage. An air embolism can also lead to a stroke, heart attack, or death. If a healthcare professional is responsible for causing the injury, they should be held accountable for their actions. 

A medical malpractice claim allows injury victims to seek compensation from the negligent doctors and hospitals which caused the injury. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning potential, and pain and suffering. If you suspect an injury was caused by improper medical care, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. An experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney can help you get compensation for your losses. Do not hesitate to contact Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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