Eric Vignando’s Fatal DVT After Knee Surgery as Told by Sophie Lambert

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Eric VignnandoMy late boyfriend, Eric Vignando, passed away at 49 years old on November 29, 2010.

Eric had knee problems after ski accidents, and he finally went in for a partial knee replacement after having pain for 20 years.   His surgery was on Nov 12, 2010.  His surgery went well, his doctor was pleased, and Eric was discharged from the hospital after 24 hours. He started injections of low molecular weight heparin daily.  The surgeon explained that it was a blood thinner, and he ordered it for 10 days, since Eric’s movement was going to be limited.  There was no mention of any possibility of DVT, PE, or blood clot when his blood thinners were started.

Eric was doing great, and was getting up a few times a day as needed, and doing the exercises recommended by his doctor while lying down.  Ten days following the surgery, Eric and I went for his post-op visit, where the surgical staples were removed. That was the last day that the blood thinner shots were ordered.

He started physical therapy the next day, and we left home for a couple of days to spend time with friends at Thanksgiving. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we went shopping, and Eric was walking much better on his crutches.  It was a perfectly bright sunny Sunday on November 28th, and we had a great dinner after our shopping spree.  He seemed to be doing great

The next day, I got a phone call from him while I was at work, when he told me he couldn’t breathe right.  I called his doctor who told me to call 911.  The paramedics and I arrived at the same time, approximately 13 minutes later.  Eric was still having difficulty breathing, but was conscious.  The paramedics took him to the ER, and Eric was still talking while they placed him in the ambulance.  He stopped breathing and lost his pulse in the ER, where he passed away after doctors injected clot busting drugs and did CPR for about ½ hour.  It was only about 1½ hours between his first symptoms and his passing.

Eric was a healthy, active, 49 year old non-smoker. He had no pain, no symptoms in his legs prior to this happening.  There was no history of blood clots in his birth family, and he tested negative for blood clotting disorders.

It is now one year since he passed away.  All he wanted was a better life with no knee pain and mostly, to return to skiing.

Knee Surgery Take Away Messages

  • Knee replacement surgery poses risk for blood clots.
  • Discuss needed length of treatment with your doctor, since there are more than one set of clinical guidelines about the appropriate length of treatment with blood thinners to prevent blood clots post-surgery.

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Author: admin

4 Responses to "Eric Vignando’s Fatal DVT After Knee Surgery as Told by Sophie Lambert"

  1. Jan Palmer
    Jan Palmer Posted on December 20, 2014 at 8:42 am

    My lovely husband had knee surgery on 22nd October following an accident which resulted in a broken knee on 18th October. He also progressed well though was not given post op blood thinners. He also had his staples removed one day before he suffered a massive PE. His progression of that was almost identical to what you describe. I was with him and he was conscious as he was taken to the ambulance but suffered a cardiac arrest caused by the PE and died about 1.5 hours later. He was 62 and so full of life.

  2. duchesne philippe
    duchesne philippe Posted on December 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I was a friend of Eric, i would like to contact Sophie, would it be possible to let me know her E-mail. Yours faithfully. Ph.Duchesne

  3. julie
    julie Posted on May 17, 2016 at 7:48 am

    My husband had a half knee replacement operation in 2012 at Greenslopes Hospital in Brisbane. He wasn’t given blood thinners the next day due to some bleeding and also wasn’t given a stocking to put on his operative leg. He died from a PE 2 days later. He was a very fit 59yr and the only sign he had with regards to a blood clot was swelling of the upper thigh and heat. His physio put it down to the operation and placed an ice pack on it.

    • SW
      SW Posted on May 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Julie. We are so sorry to hear about your loss and can only imagine the pain you are going through. Thank you for sharing your husband’s story with other people.