World Thrombosis Day 13 October – Care to save a life?

Good afternoon my cheery band of chums. On the 13th October it will be World Thrombosis Day, a day the whole world “should” be talking about the signs of Thrombosis, the treatment of Thrombosis, and how we can all work to help raise more awareness of thrombosis.

Our good friends at Lifeblood are working in partnership with World Thrombosis Day to help raise awareness of blood clots within the medical world as well as within the public domain.

Do you know what Thrombosis is? Have a look HERE and find out a lot more.

Did you know that 60% of all blood clots (DVT’s and Pulmonary Embolisms) are caused whilst being admitted to a hospital? It’s a staggering thing to have to say isn’t it. You are admitted to hospital and you then have a 60% chance of developing a blood clot. Would you know the signs? Did you know that there are NICE guidelines that hospitals should follow, sadly, many NHS Trusts don’t.

WTD 2014

Lifeblood are working hard within the medical profession to develop and implement guidelines and clinical methods so that the medical staff who care for you are aware of their responsibilities to diagnose any potential dangers and then to put into place the right medical care to ensure the patients safety.

On the 13th October 2014, why not join Lifeblood at St Thomas’s Hospital to learn more about their pioneering work, and to hear first hand accounts from patients.

A big Charity Oars Thank you to @burnhamboat & @Rowperfect

It’s always a tricky thing asking for help, especially in today’s very competitive world. Companies are faced with ever increasing costs (manufacturing, distribution, labour, marketing, tax etc) and so many small organisations find it hard to survive. But when 2 organisations come together to help Charity Oars with their need for a safe and “scratch free” way of transporting the Charity Oars, it means a great deal, and I feel it’s something that we should shout about.

Burnham Boat Slings, a wonderful US manufacturer of top quality, custom made products including “Charity Oars Covers” lol, as well as boat covers, slings, and car top rack systems, have kindly offered to make and supply the Charity Oars a sling so that the oars can be safely and easily transported around to meet with the sportsmen/women, television and film stars that are supporting our campaign.

Rowperfect their UK based supplier have stepped in also to help transport the Charity Oars covers to the UK, they have also be instrumental in helping to arrange for the donation to be made.

Both Rowperfect and Burnham Boat Slings were started by individuals with a desire to create a better way of enjoying and competing in a sport that was their passion, with the ultimate goal of supporting those around them to achieve their own successes and fulfilment.

Charity Oars have a synergy with this attitude, like Burnham Boat Slings and Rowperfect who are developing and bringing to the attention of sportsmen/women great products and intuitive methods of training, we’re working hard to support those affected by Thrombosis (DVT’s and Pulmonary Embolisms), we’re also working hard to raise awareness of the life threatening condition. Now with the wonderful support of these 2 fine organisations, we’re able to transport the Charity Oars (safely) around the country, raising awareness and valuable funds for Lifeblood (the Thrombosis Charity)

So a huge thank you to Rowperfect and Burnham Boat Slings, we quite simply couldn’t have done it without you.

Turns out this isn’t libellous and my therapist told me to do this ..!

I do apologise in advance, this post isn’t the usual happy, cheery, look how positive I am post. These are personal words directed to Hinchingbrooke NHS Trust and their love of the Bolam Defence.

The main players are a Dr Catherine Hubbard and a Dr Zaid Sharif.

In 2011 I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism, since that date I have been trying to find out the truth from the hospital as to why certain guidelines and clinical care procedures weren’t followed. Now I’m not saying that if they were followed things would have ended up differently, but surely it might have given me a fighting chance against the events of the morning of the 12th April 2011.

After a chat yesterday with my therapist (yes, I’m in therapy, get over it..!) it appears I have “a lot of anger” about the events.I have tried to deal with the Trust in a professional, courteous manner, but it appears you can’t. They have a rule in defence called the Bolam Defence, which in short means that if one other doctor agrees with the guilty doctors course of action, then there’s no case to answer. They LOVE the Bolam Defence…!

Here’s some words that need to be aired …..

“The only way to start this email is with “Oh dear…!” As we sit here, contemplating a civilised and polite response to the recent communications from your colleague Dr Catherine Hubbard, I keep going back to the advice given to me by my therapist. Apparently we have anger issues relating to the care that has been received by the Trust, and that these issues should be raised in a manner that gets results.
Dr Catherine Hubbard, where do I begin. Firstly, I shall remove the title of “Dr”, I shall then neutralise the individuals sexual genre, I shall then ascertain the individuals motives and levels of communicative prowess. So we now have a sexualy neutral individual who is the mouthpiece for Hinchingbrooke NHS Trust, it therefore goes that any comments negative or posiaitve (who am I kidding, positive..!! lol) are not directed at an indiviual, but at the system, that this person represents.
Letter dated the 15th August 2014, in response to a letter dated the 30th March 2014. (my that took a long time..!) any comments?
The first 3 paragraphs are a standard, boilerplate, non committal responses and can be covered by the Bolam Defence, I am aware of that, so please thank “Hubbard” for cutting and pasting 3 paragraphs.
Point 1: My condition was not stabilised. How can duty of care not be attributed when I clearly, politely and calmly kept stipulating that the knee and the leg were in excessive pain. The A&E were not even going to xray the knee, we had to request it. The joint could not be moved (even with morphine and nitrous oxide), there is no mention of the excessive swelling. But “Hubbard” does agree that the A&E put my leg in a brace, that is correct, isn’t it?
Point 2: Bolam defence, lucky Zaid Shariff
Point 3: Not exactly true is it? He quoted “an urgent MRI is needed and he would do that today”. In fact, when I phoned the doctors and then the imaging department nearly a week later, they hadn’t received the request. Urgent? My wife then ended up phoning the imaging department, and in tears had to explain that my leg was still locked, I was in immense pain. We dealt with the scan, Zaid Sharrif did not. Is falsifying medical documents an illegal act?
4: Oh dear “Hubbard” and Zaid Sharrif. The problem with saying “Zaid Sharifs notes state” when however, we know for a fact that these “notes” have been falsified. He strapped my leg up, he didn’t give me any information, he knew the severity of the injury, he knew the pain I was in, yet he did nothing. Now, I agree that the NICE guidelines are (at present) in place for “in patients” and I was an “out patient”, but am I wrong in thinking that DVT’s have been seen before by Zaid Sharrif? It’s not like I’m the first person in the history of Hinchingbrooke NHS Trust to ever have an injury so severe that a DVT could really possibly happen, or am I?
As for where the information that Hubbard is so” unsure about where it came from” it came from me, I could look down and see my bloody leg, cased in the brace. I mean, how flaming stupid can you be, you daft fool…?…!! Would you like to see the photos?
A brace on the knee (in the state it was in) whether it was a Peters brace or not, means that the knee is “BRACED” I couldn’t dam well move the flaming knee you daft fool…!!!
Point 5: You are correct on this fact, as an outpatient there are no formal NICE guidelines about anticoagulant as a general rule. Of course for inpatients there is a NICE guideline. That’s OK, I’m pretty sure that the good old Bolam Defence would have protected you. I mean, it’s not like there was a patient there, apparently under the care of the Trust, whose knee and leg were immobilised, in severe pain, unable to move the leg. No of course not, lets check Zaid Sharif’s notes shall we, now that would be funny..!
Hubbard, yes it was “unfortunate” that I went on to die of a massive pulmonary embolism, silly little me..! I don’t give a flying &*%$ for your apology as it means nothing from you, as you are quite simply the most atrocious, corporate obedient, Bolam Defence advocate I could ever have the misfortune of meeting.
I know you won’t apologise, you never do. Quite how you’d cope if the roles had been reversed, what would you have done?
So Zaid Sharif had left the Trust, oh no wait a second on the 3rd September we hear that he’s still there. Wow, it took you over 157 days to get that correct, well done you. 157 days to get something correct that you got wrong.Golly, I don’t know what to say.
You might also like to read the correspondence more closely. You use the term “crassness”, one should never misquote, it’s amazing the trouble it will get you into.
Your investigation was flawed. You have a “Dr” who relies on the Bolam Defence to sort everything out, and her investigation was unprofessional, “crass” (see, now I’m using the word), disrespectful, unprofessional and filled with more holes than the finest piece of Emmental cheese. Your letters make me sick and part of me wants to destroy you, but do you know what. You won’t learn anything, you won’t change, neither will Zaid Sharif. So what’s the point? God forbid a hospital ever treats you so shockingly poorly.
There is still no explanation as to exactly why Zaid Sharif stormed into the CCU, care to explain or isn’t that covered by the Bolam Defence? Oh no wait, he wrote in his “notes” that he visited under the request of Dr Rob Buttery.Oh please…..! Grow a pair Sharif and tell the truth.
OK, that’s my bit done with. It is of course worth noting that the Bolam Defence is being challenged and replaced by NICE
I really hope it means that the likes of Hubbard and Sharif no longer survive because they are protected by an outdated code of silence, they do not deserve to be protected and should be shown as the incompetent individuals they are.

Legs Out 4 Lifeblood @legsout4LB @vickimichelle1

Oh the fun of surviving a DVT or Pulmonary Embolism, the moment you wake up in the morning and greet the day with a cheery “hello…!” and there they are, just looking at you with their beige elastic gaze of the torment and torture of the day ahead. Yes folks, this is all about stockings. sadly not the ones that were made famous in the 1980’s sitcom “Allo Allo” staring the cheeky Gordon Kaye, who was left to observe the stockings of Vicki Michelle and Kirsten Cooke, this is all about beige compression stockings. More Hilda Ogden than Allo Allo I’m afraid…!

There isn’t much to say about them, well apart from the fact that they keep me alive, they also stop many of us having feet and ankles larger in size than John Barrowman’s ego (just a little bit more puffy and blotchy sadly). So we put them on, we pull them up, we then hide them away under trousers, and socks and we go about our daily business, knowing that blood will be compressed in the direction it is meant to go.

So what is fun about them?     Not much…!

Well, that’s not quite true. A good chum (from up there in Liverpool the home of “Alright…! Calm Down..! Calm Down..!” and “They do though don’t they though…!”) has started a fantastic campaign to raise awareness of Lifeblood (the thrombosis charity) and to raise valuable funds to help the charity continue it’s research and educational commitments.

So Legs Out for Lifeblood has started, if you’re on Twitter you really should pop over and give them a follow @legsot4LB there’s some lovely legs on show (mine are there, and boy did it take me a while to take a photo I liked..!)

Every penny raised goes straight to Lifeblood, and the campaign is a lot of fun and puts those beige stockings in their place…!

PJW x 



What I Wish Everyone Knew About Blood Clots (This Could Save Your Life)

Reproduced with kind permission of Stephanie Sutherlin (original article click here)

Last year, after celebrating our anniversary at Disneyland, my husband and I drove home to Sacramento. The nine-hour drive was uneventful: we got home late and fell into bed.

At work the next morning, I climbed the stairs to my office and started my coffee maker. I sat down and took a deep breath. And then another. I was unusually out of breath after walking up just one flight of stairs. Wow, I thought. I’m getting a little out of shape. Time to step it up at the gym.

As the week progressed, so did my labored breathing. I knew that stress can cause shortness of breath, and I’d certainly had enough of it that week. A relative had just had a major health scare, and I was stuck in the middle of a family feud. Plus, I was playing catch up at work because I’d taken time off to go to Southern California.

I vowed to keep an eye on my breathing and if it didn’t get better by Friday, I’d call the doctor.

Friday came and with it, so did a new strange symptom: soreness in my right calf. At first I thought it was because I’d added two workouts to my week, one of which was a kickboxing class. But by Saturday, the pain got worse instead of getting better, as a normal workout-induced cramp would.

Sunday morning, my calf throbbing, I called my younger brother who was away at college. Two years earlier, he had suffered a pulmonary embolism. In other words: pieces of a blood clot that originated in his leg had traveled to his lungs. I remembered the terror I felt seeing him in the hospital with oxygen tubes coming from his nose, writhing in pain that no pill seemed to ease.

I talked to him about my symptoms and though mine were different from his (he’d been coughing blood and had chest pains), he encouraged me to call the doctor.

My doctor agreed that the shortness of breath could be stress, but he wanted an ultrasound done on my leg before he left it at that. I sat in his office, fighting back tears, while he called the lab. Please don’t be blood clots, please be stress.

The ultrasound confirmed the worst: I had DVT (deep vein thrombosis), or a blood clot in my right calf. I was transferred to the emergency room immediately and a special technician was called in to do a scan on my lungs. He confirmed what I feared most: I had a pulmonary embolism. I sat alone in the emergency room, tears flowing freely, waiting for my family to arrive.

I was given anticoagulants right away, a shot in my belly of a drug called Lovenox, and a pill called Coumadin that would aid in my body’s breaking up of the clot. Then I was admitted to the hospital for observation overnight.

The doctors told me I was lucky. We’d caught it early, and my brother’s experience had given them vital information that probably saved my life. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, if left untreated, about 30% of people who have a PE will die.

I went home the next afternoon, scared and in pain. I felt fragile, vulnerable. This had crept up out of nowhere. I was barely 30 years old. I took care of my body, exercised regularly, and ate a healthy, plant-based diet.

My brother had been told that his smoking was a major contributor to his PE, but I’d never smoked a thing in my life. The previous weekend I’d been riding the teacups at Disneyland, and this week I was lucky to be alive. I didn’t know how it had happened, what had caused it, or how I’d be able to prevent it from happening again.

Over the next few months, I did a lot of research. I read articles in medical journals and checked out message board and support sites online that my brother had recommended. He and I spoke often. I got an appointment with a hematologist (a blood specialist) and pieced together the cause of a situation that doesn’t usually happen to young people.

I hope that some of what I’ve learned can help other people recognize the symptoms of this sometimes fatal ailment.

1. Listen to your body.

The week leading up to my finally calling the doctor was filled with weird little messages from my body. I had shortness of breath, soreness in my right calf, and a strange cramp in my side when I lay down (similar to a runner’s cramp). Thankfully, I noticed that something was off with my body, even though I wasn’t sure that these were tell-tale signs of a PE. I’ve since learned that other symptoms of a PE can include chest pain, coughing blood, dizziness, and redness, swelling or heat emanating from the calf.

2. Blood clots don’t just happen to older people. Or women.

In fact, men are more at risk for blood clots than women. My brother was misdiagnosed with pneumonia because the technician looking at his lungs at the hospital wasn’t looking for the right thing. He wasn’t old enough, they said. If you think you may have PE, ask the doctor to look for it specifically. Insist that they do. While they are most common in people ages 60 or older, they can happen to anyone at any age.

3. Birth control is a major risk factor for blood clots. So is being pregnant.

I was on birth control pills when I had my PE. The first thing doctors told me was that I had to stop taking them forever. While birth control isn’t the only factor to blame, doctors and researchers are finding increasingly more cases of clotting issues related to birth control. The thinking is that the excess estrogen from the pills helps blood clot. But being pregnant and off birth control doesn’t mean you’re not at risk; pregnant women are four or five times more likely to develop a blood clot compared to other women.

4. Genetic factors could increase your risk.

Two years ago, my brother suffered a PE. His symptoms were completely different from mine. He was coughing blood and had chest pains, but experienced no pain or symptoms in his legs. The doctors told him his smoking, sitting often in class and being dehydrated had put him at risk. At that time, I should have had genetic testing done to see if we had the same mutations (some genetic mutations are thought to put you more at risk), but I wasn’t aware that there were such tests. If you have a family member who has suffered from DVT or PE, ask your doctor about family testing for clotting disorders.

5. Don’t cross your legs.

It’s comfortable. It’s feminine. I know. But crossing your legs restricts blood flow, which encourages clotting. Just don’t do it.

6. It’s serious.

At the hospital, the doctor told me that 1 in 3 people who have a PE die from it. Most of those deaths are due to people underestimating the severity of their symptoms. They don’t go to the hospital, they don’t insist on finding the source of their pain or they wait too long. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the symptoms.

It’s been almost a year since I was hospitalized with my PE. I’m still taking anticoagulants and I’ve made changes to my daily habits to ensure once I’m off of them I don’t develop another blood clot.

Like anything else, the way to prevent it is to stay healthy: don’t sit for too long, stay hydrated, keep your body moving, fuel up on whole foods and keep your mind in a healthy place.

I’ve learned how to care for myself in a way I never knew how to before. I’ve started taking yoga classes and riding my bike or walking with my husband every day. I keep a bottle of water in my car and one in my office. I have learned to listen to the tiniest messages my body sends me and respond.

I’ve gotten closer with my family, especially the brother who shared my experience. I’ve started making time for friends, hobbies and fun. The housework, the yard work, the errands can wait.

I’ve never had more energy or felt more alive than I have in the months since my pulmonary embolism. When I left the hospital, I felt afraid that my life would never be the same. And it hasn’t been, but it’s improved my life, not hindered it.

Charity Oars, proud to support World Thrombosis Day (13/10/14)

Good evening to you all,

A tad tardy on the posts recently, my apologies. We’ve not been idle, far from it. We have been organising our support for World Thrombosis Day which takes place on the 13th October 2014. The day is supported by Lifeblood and the ISTH 2 amazing charities supporting research into VTE, please have a look at the work that both charities are undertaking.

Well, on the 13th October, the Charity Oars will be in London (at St Thomas’s Hospital) have a look here for the details and for the World Thrombosis Day poster. Why not print one off and display it proudly at work, at school, on the pub dart board (no darts are allowed to hit it though)…!