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By: David Bock

September  2009

I was seriously injured when I slipped and fell in Upland, California on March 8, 2008, while visiting there from my home in Arizona.  I was rushed to the emergency room (ER) of the nearest hospital where the ER doctor diagnosed fractures of my left tibia and fibula in my lower left leg. (left ankle bimalleolar fracture).  I was in a great deal of pain, and was told that the fractures needed open reduction internal fixation surgical repair.  However, the doctor only prescribed a pain killer, put a cast on my leg, and told me to follow up with my primary care physician when I returned to Arizona.

The next day, my wife and I drove back to Arizona, which turned out to be an extremely uncomfortable trip because of excruciating pain. The following day, I went to my primary care doctor who immediately referred me to an orthopedic specialist. The orthopedic doctor examined me and stated that surgery could not be performed right away, due to the delay in treatment and resultant soft-tissue swelling.

A few days later on March 14, 2008, I had noticeable trouble breathing, and was taken to the closest ER by ambulance.  Based on test results, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism related to an undetected deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that had formed near the sites of the fractures in my leg.
I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital for treatment of a severe pulmonary embolism, and my condition rapidly worsened.  At 2:34 AM on March 15, 2008, I became cold and clammy and my skin color turned pale. The hospital records indicate that I was unresponsive and had stopped breathing, and my eyes had rolled to the back of my head.  A code for a respiratory arrest was called.  Fortunately, I responded after about 3 minutes of resuscitation.  I was also treated with tPA (clot busting drugs) at this time. On March 17, 2008, I underwent surgery for the placement of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter to stop any more clots from travelling to my lungs.

These blood clots developed as a result of the lower leg fractures I sustained in the accident, which then detached and traveled to my lungs and became the pulmonary embolism that produced my shortness of breath and chest pain.  It was a near fatal episode, and I was fortunate to survive and be discharged from the hospital on March 19, 2008.

Today, I am still in a constant and intense pain from the ankle fractures.  I have missed work and have been unable to enjoy the regular activities of daily life due to the complications from my injury.  I believe that the postponement of proper treatment of my ankle injury, as well as delay in preventing or recognizing my DVT, led to this medical emergency when I almost lost my life.

Dave Bock


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6 Responses to "My Story of Having a DVT/Pulmonary Embolism"

  1. Susan
    Susan Posted on December 27, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Hi Dave,
    Just looking for some info about embolism. I am an American living in Europe and had a left ankle trimalleolar fracture on Nov. 3. I just started physical therapy this week, but the more active I become, the more frequently my bad foot/leg turns blue and throbs. I was intrigued by your story and saddened by your experience. I absolutely cannot imagine traveling anywhere in the hours or days after I sustained this fracture. I was admitted into the hospital from the ER and waited 2 days for an operating room to be available for my surgery. After surgery, I stayed in hospital for another two days. I complained brutally, but now realize after reading your story that immediate hospitalization was the best care I could have gotten. Interestingly, the total for my hospitalization, surgery, followup appointments,cast and crutches is $105 because Italy has nationalized health care. Think about that next time you vote – ha, ha! I wish you continued recovery and very much appreciate that you posted your story. I don’t speak the language here very well, so I am trying to find as much info as possible on all steps of my recovery.
    Best, Susan.

  2. Coley Emde
    Coley Emde Posted on August 25, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Thank you for sharing. I believe this may be what happened to me after fracturing my tibia and subsequently suffered a minor TIA, which I now understand can all be related to my Factor II mutation. I truly believe many of us at severe risk of medical professionals not listening or believing our symptoms, chalking them up to upper respiratory problems, anxiety, asthma, etc.

  3. Jane
    Jane Posted on February 6, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Due to the rediculous rwd tape of my Obama care isurance, i could not gwt to surgery for two weeks after my talus fracture i left ankle. Now two wweks post op experiencing periodic intense theobbing which many freinds are urging me to go to hospital for fear of blood clot. When i get rhia flarw up, nothong not even 750 mg og acectaminophen helps. No matter how i position it excepr if i lay on my back and raise it in the air perpendicularly helps. Sry.typos due to tiny cell ohone buttons. So i keep teyong toove around as often as possible but thwn need to elevate…scary

  4. Bill
    Bill Posted on May 17, 2016 at 1:33 am

    My sister Barbara suffered a broken left tibia. Went to hospital and underwent surgery 2 days later. She suffered a pulmonary embolism, blood clots to the brain and stroke. No speech, unable to swallow, right side is completely affected. Now in a nursing home. Up to March 3rd 2016 she was an intelligent, active, and creative healthy human being. Now she is incredibly injured. This is a most difficult time for our sister Barbara and all of us who love her so much.

    • SW
      SW Posted on May 17, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time, Bill. Thank you for sharing Barbara’s story. Take care.

    • Ramona
      Ramona Posted on August 31, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Bill I feel so sorry for ur sister and your family. My Q is didn’t the staff pick up the blood clot so they can treat it in time?
      I have fibula fracture amd displaced ankle and having to self inject in my tummy with deltaparin to prevent blood clot.I am old is ur sister? (Not that age is a risk factor )
      Thank u and all the best tonir sister