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This David Smith 2is my Dad’s story. His name was David Smith.

My Dad died of a pulmonary embolism (lung clot) on October 24, 2012. He was only 63 years old. His sudden death has devastated our family and left us wishing we had been aware of the signs of pulmonary embolism (PE) and able to help him.

My Dad was suffering from prostate cancer, which was being treated with hormone therapy. Since his diagnosis in 2011, we were all making sure he lived life to the fullest. This wasn’t difficult for my Dad who had so many interests. He loved music, literature and the church. Even at 63, he was continuing his education by doing correspondence courses.

In April 2012, my Dad went to his doctor with severe pain on one side of his back. The doctors thought it might be kidney stones, but a CT scan (an x-ray that can take detailed pictures of the kidneys), ruled this out. No further tests were done as the pain subsided. From month to month, he had severe shortness of breath. He was taken off one of the drugs for the cancer, but the shortness of breath persisted. A chest X-ray was done which only found plural thickening (thickening of the lining of the lungs). Again, no further tests were done.

My Dad collapsed at his work on the afternoon of October 24, 2012.

He regained consciousness and seemed well enough to joke with his colleagues before the ambulance came. On the way to the hospital my Dad died of a pulmonary embolism. My mother was following the ambulance hoping to see him at the hospital, but ended up getting there before it as the paramedics stopped on the way to try and resuscitate my Dad.

David Smith 1

I last saw my Dad alive on October 22, 2012. He was in good spirits after having good news from the hospital about his cancer being contained. He seemed very short of breath but told me it must be a side effect from his medication and condition.

Cancer patients have an increased risk of blood clots. My Dad did not have a stay in hospital or go on any long haul flights. I hope this story will highlight the risks to others and make sure that people who experience severe shortness of breath are tested for pulmonary embolism. If he was I may still have my wonderful Dad with me today.

Take Home Messages:

Pulmonary Embolism is sometimes missed or diagnosed as something else.
People with cancer have an increased risk of PE.
The risk of PE increases if you receive hormone therapy for the cancer (estrogen, etc)
If you have cancer and experience chest and/or back pain with shortness of breath, call 911, or go to an emergency room immediately. This is a life threatening emergency.
A chest x-ray may not be sufficient to diagnose a PE.
Chest and/or back pain in cancer patient with shortness of breath should be considered by patient and provider to be a PE until proven otherwise.

Author: admin

2 Responses to "In Memory of Dave Smith: His Blood Clot Story"

  1. Christine
    Christine Posted on May 3, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    I just read your story. I am so sorry for your loss. Your father looks like a very nice man. My father, Art, also died from PE in January 2010. He would have been 77 in March of that year. He collapsed at home, regained consciousness and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He was also in good spirits. He was told that he would need to stay in the hospital for a few days. My step-mom, brother and sister-in-law went back to his home to retrieve a shaving kit. Before leaving the house they received a phone call from the hospital saying my dad had taken a turn for the worse. He was gone by the time they got back to the hospital. His death has bothered me all these years. I just can’t understand how he could die of PE when in the hospital and under a physician’s care. I still miss my dad so very much and I know you miss your father too. That feeling never goes away. I am sure that your father lives on in your heart and mind as my father lives on in mine. Take care and thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Teresa Sewell
    Teresa Sewell Posted on September 15, 2016 at 4:30 am

    This is in regards to the Dave Smith story, my name is Teresa Sewell, I am from Alabama, my husband Larry who was 57 years old recently died from a pulmonary embolism while being treated with external beam radiation therapy for intermediate prostate cancer, he had been experiencing extreme shortness of breath for several weeks prior to his death we informed his oncology radiologist during Larry’s 8 week radiation treatment on week 4 of the 8 week treatment Larry began to experience extreme shortness of breath and extreme fatigue we told the doctor and he kind of dismissed our concern stating that he had several patients complaining of shortness of breath and that the cause of the shortness of breath was due to the extremely hot weather we were experiencing I informed the doctor that Larry had previously worked next the a furnace at a foundry and on the assembly line at Honda of Alabama which both were in extremely hot environments and Larry was not bothered by hot conditions but the doctor did not order any testing of any kind to be done Larry finished the 8 week treatment and was sent home for 1 month he was to return to the office at the end of that month to have blood work drawn and to return to the office 2 days after the blood work was drawn Larry returned to the office on July 25, 2016 to have his blood work drawn he was to return on July 28th but he died of a PE on July 27th while I was in the process of making funeral arrangements the doctor’s nurse called me to ask why Larry had missed his appointment and I told her he had a very good reason that he had died the day before she immediately put the doctor on the telephone and he was really shocked that Larry had died he asked what had happened I really went off on him I told him that I guess the shortness of breath was not caused by the hot weather and he still refused to admit that he might have missed a DVT or PE but that is what the ER doctor said was the cause of Larry’s death. I have some attorneys here looking at Larry’s medical records to see if I have a medical negligence case I am hoping that I do because I don’t want any other patients to go through what I am going through now. Larry had had 2 total hip replacements in the past along with a total knee replacement . I really miss Larry it seems like he should walk in the door at any time.