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Coumadin (generic name: Warfarin) is an anticoagulant, or blood-thinning medication, that is commonly prescribed to patients who are at risk for developing blood clots that could lead to heart attack or stroke.  The amount of Coumadin each person needs is different and is based upon a blood clotting test called the INR (International Normalized Ratio).  This test measures how fast your blood is clotting and tells the doctor whether your dosage of Coumadin should be increased or decreased.  Patients taking Coumadin will have a target INR range, and the goal for the physician and the patient is to maintain the INR within the target range.  For example, patients who suffer from atrial fibrillation may have a target INR range of 2.5 to 3.0.  If the INR falls below the target range, the doctor may increase the dosage of Coumadin until the INR rises to the target range.  Conversely, if the INR rises significantly above the target range, the doctor may decrease the Coumadin dose or stop the medication altogether until the INR drops back down to the target range.

Regulating the clotting of your blood with Coumadin is like balancing a scale.  If you take too much, you can suffer life-threatening complications due to excessive bleeding; If you take too little, your blood will clot and you can suffer a heart attack or stroke.  For this reason, your doctor will measure your INR regularly to make sure you are receiving the appropriate Coumadin dose.     

The law firm of Dever & Feldstein, LLC has handled several cases involving inadequate monitoring of Coumadin.  In two cases, our clients suffered major strokes when their physicians failed to increase their Coumadin dose after their INR had fallen well below the target range.  In another case, we represented the surviving family and estate of a woman who was prescribed excesive amounts of Coumadin and died due to intracranial bleeding.  In each of these cases, our firm retained prominent experts in the fields of internal medicine and hematology who testified that the health care providers had comitted medical malpractice by failing to properly monitor the patient's INR and Coumadin dose.  As a result, we were able to obtain signifcant recoveries for our clients in each case. 

If you or someone you know has suffered signficant complications due to a failure to properly monitor your Coumadin dose, please immediately call the law firm of Dever and Feldstein for a confidential no-charge consultation.  

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