Cassandra Bradshaw’s Blood Clot Story

Cassandra Bradshaw’s Blood Clot Story

The personal story below is intended for informational purposes only. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) holds the rights to all content that appears on its website. The use by another organization or online group of any content on NBCA’s website, including the patient stories that appear here, does not imply that NBCA is connected to these other organizations or groups or condones or endorses their work. Please contact info@stoptheclot.org with questions about this matter.


Cassandra Bradshaw was at death’s door due to a large blood clot found in her inferior vena cava and an infection after delivery, but she refused to believe her prognosis and is now a hopeful survivor who wants to spread awareness.

I was 23 years old when I gave birth to a sweet baby boy on January 5, 2007, but began to hemorrhage seconds after his arrival, which I later found out was due to a piece of placenta (afterbirth) left inside.  Doctors and nurses filled the room to stop the bleeding.  I had placenta previa during my pregnancy and delivered my baby vaginally, and I have since learned that a C-section is a safer choice for delivery when placenta previa is present.

My bleeding stopped after about an hour, and I was sent home 2 days later.  I felt weaker and weaker as days went by, and I began to lose feeling in both of my legs and could not put weight on them to stand.  I woke up to go to the bathroom and stumbled into the wall two weeks after giving birth, as if I was losing my balance.

My husband took me to the Emergency Room (ER), where the doctor first thought I might have kidney stones since I was feeling sharp pain in my middle back.  The doctor ordered a CT scan without contrast, but the technician accidentally used contrast.  This turned out to be a lucky mistake, because the scan revealed a 6 inch blood clot in my IVC (inferior vena cava).   I was med flighted right away from Texarkana, TX to Little Rock, AR.

I was admitted to the coronary care unit (CCU), where extensive testing was done, although I don’t recall what all those tests were.  I was given blood thinners and antibiotics, because I also had an infection and a fever along with the clot.   Specialists, including vascular surgeons, obstetricians, pulmonologists, hematologists, and an infectious disease expert assessed me.  I was told there was nothing that they could do for me, and there was no doubt that I was going to die, because of the infection and the fact that my clot was in the vena cava.

I refused to believe this, even though I had 2 emergency surgeries during my two week admission.  A filter was placed in my inferior vena cava to prevent clots from going to my lungs as a pulmonary embolism.  Placenta was left in me, so I had a procedure to evacuate it.  After two weeks in the hospital, I was told there was nothing else they could do and was discharged home to “wait and see.”

A vascular surgeon tested me for factor V Leiden in 2009, which was positive.  The presence of a blood clotting disorder was not on anyone’s radar until that point.  I had used the birth control patch in 2006 and 2007, and thus far, there is no history of blood clots in my birth family.

Fortunately, I am now a happy and healthy 27 year old, given what I have been through.  I still live with the 6 inch blood clot in my inferior vena cava, so I will be on blood thinners for life.   I self-inject with low molecular weight heparin daily.  A venogram showed that my inferior vena cava is shriveled and blocked without blood flow.  However, I have been told that there is enough collateral circulation of other veins to provide pathways for blood to flow.  My clot has grown each year.

I hope to spread awareness to other women about risk for blood clots associated with blood clotting disorders, use of birth control, and pregnancy.  I realize that not everyone can be tested for blood clotting disorders, but I want people to know their presence may add to risk of blood clots.

The personal story is intended for informational purposes only. The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) holds the rights to all content that appears on its website. The use by another organization or online group of any content on NBCA’s website, including patient stories that appear here, does not imply that NBCA is connected to these other organizations or groups or condones or endorses their work. Please contact info@stoptheclot.org with questions about this matter.
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