Bullying Led to Blood Clots: Jessica’s Story

Bullying Led to Blood Clots: Jessica’s Story

Jessica Stanley experienced physical trauma after a bullying incident in high school, from which she developed blood clots in her left leg and lungs. After taking a year off, she was proud to finish her senior year, and is now a blood clot survivor in her early 20s.

My name is Jessica Stanley. Six years ago, at age 15, I was a victim of high school bullying, when I was attacked from behind and thrown to the ground, so could not defend myself.  Some time after, I felt short of breath and noticed a pain in my side.  I went to the ER because my left leg became swollen, and a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was found that leg.  Two days l later, they found a pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot in my lung.

At first, they tried to break up the clots in my lungs, but that did not work, so I was then started on injections of low molecular weight heparin, and was hospitalized for nine days. I received a blood transfusion, because of blood loss from the trauma. Some members of my family have factor V Leiden, but I tested negative for it, although I tested positive for the MTHFR gene.  I was also taking a third generation birth control pill, which added to my risk, and which I stopped. My doctor advised a progestin-only injection as another means of birth control after my blood clots.

I was switched to Coumadin only when I went home, but I was unable to attend junior year of high school, because I did not want to be a victim of repeat bullying, especially due to the risk of bleeding associated with blood thinners. I wore compression stockings, and I was able to stop blood thinners after a year, which made my day.  My lungs were clear of blood clots, and the clot in my leg was calcified.

What I learned is it is important to know symptoms of DVT and PE and know your body, and that clots can form after a traumatic injury.  Blood clots are dangerous and can kill.  I am grateful that I could complete my senior year in 2009, because it I did not want to miss it, homecoming, or the prom.  I enjoyed it all and made lots of significant memories.

I am now 21, and my lungs are fine. I still have some swelling in my left leg where the DVT was, but I am used to it.  I am better now, although my experience with bullying and blood clots changed my life.  Now that I feel better, I am grateful to God and to the doctors and nurses for the wonderful care they gave me.

Take Home Messages

  • Trauma can cause blood clots
  • Blood clots can happen in a high school age person, although they are not common
  • Birth control pills add to risk
  • Progestin only birth control carries reduced risk
  • Compression stockings may help treat DVT

The National Blood Clot Alliance’s mission is to advance prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of blood clots, clotting disorders and clot-provoked strokes through public awareness, advocacy and patient and professional education.

Share your story
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.

Additional patient stories