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DVT & PE Blood Clots:
A Patient's Life-changing Story
21 year old college baseball player Dominic Knight survives multiple blood clots in his lungs following a 12-hour bus trip
My Son Dominic - my 21 year old collegiate athlete son Dominic - was diagnosed with Pulmonary Embolisms in January of 2009. Dominic, fortunately with the grace of God and some wonderful doctors at Northwestern Medical Hospital in Chicago, survived this horrible condition. I had never heard of this life threatening condition until I received that phone call that changed everything.
On January 24, 2009 my daughter Leann called me and asked if I had talk to Dominic today, I said "no", and she said "Mom, he's not feeling well. I called him and he said that he has very bad chest pains that have been going on for about 3 days and are getting worse." I told him that is probably was nothing but not take a chance and go to the ER. At this time, Dominic lived in downtown Chicago where he was attending Robert Morris College; he was on a baseball scholarship studying business.
When he arrived at Northwestern Medical Hospital, they did a chest x-ray which came back fine. Then they did a blood test and that is where the unexpected and shocking news came in: Dominic was showing a possible clot? My first response was that of shock and surprise - this couldn't be right. Dominic is a 21 year old healthy, and health-conscious athlete; he has been his whole life! Then the CT scan report came back and that's when I got the phone call from the doctor in the ER, a phone call that I play over and over in my head - "Mrs. Knight, your son has multiple blood clots in his lungs and it's a very serious situation." I immediately had a million questions, but all I could get out at that second was "How many?" His reply, "Too many to count." My heart hit the floor, and I was on the next flight to Chicago. When I got to the hospital, Dominic was in awful pain and the doctors said it was because the blood flow was restricted in his lungs due to the clots. The first thing he asked was, "Has Dominic traveled recently where he has been sitting for a long time?" Dominic started to tell the story about his bus trip the week before to go visit his friends at Michigan State University, after Amtrak canceled his train twice they put him on a charter bus. Dominic sat on the bus for 12 hours! The only stops that were made were to pick up or drop off passengers. The doctor immediately said you cannot sit for more 6 hours without running the risk of clots developing in your legs. I could not believe what I heard! It seemed like an unrealistic situation!
Dominic is on blood thinners for 8 months, due to restricted blood flow to his lungs and part of his lung has died. We moved him back home to Michigan to keep a close watch on him. In a matter of a few hours his life changed. Dominic's love is baseball. Since he has been six years old, he devoted his life to the game in every way that an athlete can. His focus has been on the dream of playing a college sport. He made smart decisions, practiced harder than most players he was around, kept his body in shape, and maintained a positive attitude - all of these things landed him a scholarship to do what he loved most: play baseball. In a matter of hours, Dominic's life changed. He was forced to uproot his life, change his focus, and unfortunately, hang up the cleats. I can't tell you what that does to a kid who has lost a big part of his life because of something that was out of his control.
It doesn't matter how old you are, everyone is at risk! Dominic had many tests to rule out any pre-existing disorders and they all came back negative. I have told Dominic's story to so many people - And this is what I have to say to all of them, - Just because you have never heard of this condition, doesn't mean it can't happen to you. Public awareness needs to be made and advertised.
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