David Bloom's DVT Story: An Interview with Melanie Bloom
The Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
When NBC News Correspondent David Bloom embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division to cover the war in Iraq, his wife Melanie worried daily about the dangers of war. But it wasn't a landmine, bombing, bullet or an ambush that took her husband's life. It was a blood clot that traveled to his lungs.
"When I received the call the night David passed away (April 5, 2003), I was clearly in a deep state of shock. They said that David's death was due to 'pulmonary embolism', a complication of 'deep-vein thrombosis'. I had never before heard of this condition . . . that night my life and the lives of our three little girls were forever altered."
Since receiving that call, Melanie has become more aware of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). She learned about the risk factors of DVT, such as prolonged immobility and how this, combined with dehydration, may have contributed to the development of David's blood clot. Long-haul flights also increase the risk, and David had recently been traveling back and forth on assignment. Melanie also learned that David had a silent risk factor, Factor V Leiden - an inherited blood coagulant disorder that can increase a person's risk of DVT.
Having three or more risk factors for DVT may put someone at risk and could lead to a potentially fatal PE. David had four.
Importantly, Melanie also learned that DVT can be prevented if you are aware of the risk factors, signs and symptoms - and speak to your doctor. A few nights before David passed away, Melanie had a seemingly innocuous phone conversation with David. But looking back, the warning signs were there.
On Thursday evening, April 3, Melanie said her husband called and told her he was sleeping outside on the fender of the tank under the star-lit sky of the Iraqi desert. After enduring days and nights working, eating and sleeping in cramped conditions inside the army vehicles, he needed to get out and stretch - even if that meant being outside, unprotected, while only miles from the Baghdad border. Whispering into his phone, he complained about leg cramps.
"He was only 39, an avid tennis player and in great health. It seemed reasonable that his legs would feel cramped given the miserable conditions. We didn't think for one moment there was a reason to be concerned. But, I wish I had the knowledge then that I have now. If we had known more about DVT and PE, then we may have been able to prevent it and ultimately, save his life."
By Saturday, only hours before David's death, he made what would be his last phone call home to talk to Melanie and his girls. Although he seemed to be in brighter spirits and full of energy, doctors think that the clot in his leg may have dislodged at this time and began movement to the blood vessels in his lung. That very day, David and the troops were going to face the most dangerous mission thus far by making the push across the Baghdad border. As the troops prepared to roll out, David abruptly collapsed and died.
Since her husband's passing, Melanie has received over 80,000 letters and emails of support, including those from people who said his story saved their life. People with leg pain said that hearing about David's death in the news prompted them to talk to a doctor. Melanie realized that people were listening and becoming more aware of DVT. This inspired her to think of ways in which she could give back to others and help to educate them about DVT and PE, perhaps preventing another family from suffering the same tragedy. Melanie learned of a Coalition - The Coalition to Prevent DVT - which is dedicated to this mission and she agreed to partner with them to become their national spokesperson.
"My hope is that in telling David's and my story I can help raise public awareness and support health education measures surrounding this silent, insidious killer that took my husband’s life - and that also affects two million Americans and takes hundreds of thousands of lives each year."
As the national patient advocate for the Coalition to Prevent DVT, Melanie helped to lead awareness efforts in March 2005 which culminated in a national media campaign that reached millions of Americans across the country, and a Senate resolution sponsored by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) officially declaring DVT Awareness Month.
Melanie will continue these efforts throughout 2006.
"All it takes is for one person to hear my story and be motivated to pick up the phone and take action."
Melanie Bloom currently lives in New York with her and David's three children - a five-year old daughter and eleven-year old twin girls.
Click here to see Melanie Bloom on NBC's Today Show, March 7, 2006.
Click here to read a transcript of Melanie's interview with Larry King on CNN's Larry King Live show, March 8, 2006.
You can learn more about the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis, of which ClotCare is a member, and the 2006 DVT Awareness Month at http://www.clotcare.com/clotcare
Learn More About DVT, PE, Prevention, and Treatment on ClotCare
ClotCare has numerous resources to help you learn about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. You can view a list of our postings related to these issues at http://www.clotcare.com/clotcare/postings.aspx?by=condition&conditionid=6&word=Blood%20Clots. Links to some featured postings and frequently asked questions (FAQs) are below. As always, you are welcome to contact Marie Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org if you still have questions.
Featured ClotCare DVT & PE Postings
Understanding Deep Vein Thrombosis
This posting explains deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). The posting has information on who is likely to get a DVT, the signs and symptoms of a DVT or PE, how a DVT is diagnosed, how a DVT or PE is treated, and how a DVT or PE can be prevented. You can also see several pictures of what a DVT actually looks like.
Cancer and Deep Vein Thrombosis
This posting provides information for patients with cancer. Deep vein thrombosis is a potential complication for cancer patients.
FAQs About Warfarin (brand name Coumadin)
Warfarin (brand name Coumadin) is an anticoagulant medication used to treat patients who have survived a DVT or PE. This posting answers some of the most common questions asked by patients on warfarin (brand name Coumadin).
Understanding the PT-INR Test
This posting explains the PT-INR test, which is the test used to measure how well warfarin is working.
Featured ClotCare FAQs
What is the d-Dimer Test?
The d-Dimer test is a relatively simple blood test used to test for active clotting. If the d-Dimer blood test is negative (or normal), that virtually rules out active blood clot formation... Learn more at:
Will the blood clot in my leg go away now that I am on medication for it?
Once you have started taking anticoagulant medications after having a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the leg), the blood clot may dissolve on its own, or it may remain in your leg indefinitely... Learn more at:
I am taking warfarin (brand name Coumadin) for a blood clot in my leg (DVT). Will the pain in my leg ever go away?
This FAQ explains post-thrombotic syndrome, which is sometimes referred to as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) or as post-phlebitic syndrome. Pain in the leg from post-thrombotic syndrome may remain even after a blood clot has fully dissolved... Learn more at:
What are graduated compression stockings, where do I get them, and how do I put them on?
Graduated compression stockings are special stockings that help promote circulation in your legs... Learn more at: