It was 16 minutes past 11pm one summer night and Eve decided to head to bed. Her mother Melanie was brushing her hair in the mirror where she caught Eve’s gaze.
“I love you, Mam. I’ll see you in the morning.” It had been a long day, and Eve said she was tired.
“I love you too,” Melanie said. Both went their separate ways to get ready for bed, unaware of the horror that lay ahead.
Eve died less than three hours later. She was 21 years old.
Eve had died suddenly from a blood clot which caused her to go into cardiac arrest.
Two years on, Melanie has joined Thrombosis Ireland to tell her daughter’s story.
She hopes that sharing Eve’s tragic story will help save someone else’s loved one and prevent any other family from suffering this tragic loss.
Melanie says: “I remember she had fallen on her way to the car, and when we went to pick her up, she was crying and she was really upset. It was torrential rain and her clothes were soaked. So, we brought her home and helped her get changed, but she couldn’t bear any weight on the foot at all.”
Eve’s boyfriend brought her to the hospital to get her leg checked out, and in the early hours of the next morning, she started to get worried about the intense pain in her calf.
Melanie remembers her daughter saying concerns were beginning to be raised about her leg. “The back of her leg was really hard, and she mentioned having pins and needles in it. So, they did scans on it.”
Looking back now her mother Melanie says: “I don’t know why but a blood clot never entered my mind, I’ve wrestled with this for three years now. It didn’t enter my head; I thought a bone might be broken. Her leg was so angry looking, I remember describing it as a Christmas ham, because that’s exactly what it looked like.”
That night, a doctor told Eve that her scans were clear, and that she could go home to rest.
“I remember Eve saying: ‘Are you sure? Because my leg doesn’t feel right.’ But they told her that she just needed to rest it and that she would be okay.”
They wheeled Eve to the front door in a wheelchair and Eve got in the car to go home with her family. Before they reached home Eve insisted on stopping to get some birthday sweets for her sister Emma who had turned 12 that day.
“I told her we would go in and get them for her, but by God she went in herself and got them. When I think of the pain she must have been in.”
Eve’s family were delighted to have her home, and they spent the rest of Emma’s birthday playing X-box together.
This was the last night Eve’s family ever spent with their beloved daughter and sister.
Shortly after going to bed, Eve went into her first cardiac arrest. She was initially revived by her family, and an ambulance was called, but the young woman died a short time later after going into cardiac arrest once again.
Now, Melanie hopes that Eve’s legacy will help other women know their risk factors and ask, “could this be a blood clot?” Eve herself had risk factors; she was using the contraceptive pill, she smoked, and there was a history of blood clots in her family. She had also injured her ankle a couple of days before her death.
Thrombosis Ireland have compiled an extensive list of risk factors that any person could fall in to, which also include having Covid-19 in the last 12 months. Travelling for six hours on any form of transport without moving also adds to your risk of getting a blood clot, as does spending time in hospital, a cancer diagnosis or having a baby.
Highlighting the importance of self advocation, Patient Founder of Thrombosis Ireland Anne Marie O’Neill says and that people need to be equipped with the skills to recognise when they may be in a risk category and need a Venous Thromboembolism Risk Assessment..
“Even if you have one of those risk factors, you should always advocate for yourself and say ‘I have one of those risk factors. Can you risk assess me?’ and continue to be vigilant.
Ms O’Neill says people need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a blood clot; swelling or pain in one arm or leg, warmth or redness in one leg or arm, shortness of breath or rapid breathing. chest pain (particularly when breathing deeply) or coughing/coughing up blood.
Praising the work of Thrombosis Ireland, Melanie says they are doing “trojan work” to raise awareness on blood clots and the need for VTE assessments. “I want other young women to be very, very aware of the risks,” she says.
“Eve fluttered into my life. I was very honoured to have that. I’d hate to see this ever happen again,” says Melanie.
“When Eve left, I still looked for her for a long time afterwards.
“Now, in town some days, I look and wonder will she be there.”