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Friday, March 23, 2007

The bomb that got him was within his own body: A missed diagnosis story

The story of his widow, Melanie Bloom:
He had been on some really long-haul flights between New York and Kuwait in the weeks and months leading up to the war. He was sleeping with his knees up to his chin in a cramped tank night after night.

 The supply lines were dwindling and so he wasn't as hydrated....He did share with me on a phone call home two nights before he died that he was sleeping outside on top of the tank to stretch his legs because he said he had these cramps. 

Huge warning flag, but again, not having heard of DVT or knowing any of the risk factors, we didn't even think to do anything.

He had pain in his leg, and then the pain went away, he was feeling great.

 He called me the morning of the day he died. He ... sounded upbeat, he wasn't limping and everything was good.

 They were going to make the push across the Baghdad border and that night...he abruptly collapsed to the ground and died. The clot had broken free, so his leg didn't hurt anymore. But it had made its way to his lungs.

[David Bloom, NBC News correspondent, had been covering the war.]

Two million Americans will develop a DVT each year. Out of that, 600,000 will go on to develop the pulmonary embolism. Out of that number, 300,000 will be fatal.

Her Advice:
People can take a little test [on the Web] and test their own risk level, because that's the biggest piece of it - just knowing, "Do I fall into these risk categories?" and if you do, talk to your doctor.

(We're) encouraging people to take their risk assessment tool results to their physician and start that dialogue.

[If] you might have pain in the leg, you might have swelling or tenderness to the leg, and that's good if you have those warning signs because you should immediately get to your doctor and get that checked out.

Read another Iraq story, or read Dawn Sagario’s source story in the Des Moines Register.

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