Bettendorf woman on the mend after blood clot; hopes to spread awareness

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 11:09 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - March marks National Blood Clot Awareness Month. One Bettendorf woman is using the time to share her experience with the condition.

According to the National Blood Clot Alliance, the condition affects more than 900,000 Americans every year. On average they kill one person every six minutes in the U.S. or about 100,000 people every year.

Barbra Davis was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in March 2022. In December she underwent surgery for the mass to be removed. After three surgeries and four weeks at the hospital, she was about to be discharged.

“My nurse was in my room and saw on my monitor that my oxygen was decreasing in numbers,” Davis said.

Medical staff discovered she had a blood clot that made it to her lungs, causing her to undergo yet another surgery.

“I’m fortunate enough to have been in the hospital because you can be killed instantly,” Davis said. “I was told to have that surgery immediately. Otherwise, I would not live.”

Davis isn’t alone.

According to the NBCA, more than half of blood clots happen in a hospital setting.

Todd Robertson is a Des Moines-based patient advocate for the organization and a blood clot survivor himself.

He said their goal is to reduce the mortality of the condition through education.

“We lose a lot of Americans every year,” Robertson said. “If we just understood the symptoms, and then the risk factors, I think we can we can really bring those numbers down.”

Risks range from events like surgical procedures or injury to lifestyle choices like smoking or minimal physical activity.

Meanwhile, symptoms can mimic leg cramps and include shortness of breath which often can be confused for other conditions, making a diagnosis a challenge.

“Blood clots can affect anyone, [with] no respect to person’s ages, or their race, or their gender,” Davis said. “Anyone can be attacked with blood clots.”

Davis is now on medication and battles through fatigue but hopes to spread awareness of the condition that nearly took her life.

“I am thriving very well and healing, but it’s still a journey,” Davis said. “Blood clots are very serious, and they can be dangerous.”

The NBCA recommends individuals research their family’s history of blood clots, the risk factors and symptoms in order to prevent the condition. A full list of potentially lifesaving information can be found on the non-profit’s website.