Woman says she developed huge blood clot that almost killed her after being prescribed birth control pill

A young woman has urged the NHS to do blood tests for women before prescribing birth control pills after she was left with a “life-changing” blood clot that nearly killed her.

Combined hormonal contraceptives are very safe for most women, but they may put you at risk of a heart attack or stroke and put you at a slightly increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, which involves the development of a blood clot and can be fatal.

Speak with The IndependentJess Seaton said the blood clot left her with long-term health problems, including being able to walk with a crutch for years and developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 25-year-old, who lives on the Isle of Wight, first opened up about her experience of being prescribed the combination pill after she went to her GP in January 2012 aged 15. Her mother accompanied her because she wanted to tell the doctor about a family history of bleeding disorders.

Ms Seaton, who now has two children, explained how she was prescribed the combined birth control pill despite these health issues being clearly reported to the nurse – with the health worker reassuring her they would be keeping an eye on her blood pressure and she “would be fine.” “.

“Because of my age, they were more concerned about underage pregnancy than my safety,” Ms Seaton said.

After developing severe pain and swelling in her legs in October of the same year, she had to go to an accident and emergency room.

When she was in the emergency room, she was diagnosed with a giant blood clot that stretched from her ankle to her belly button, she recalled, adding that doctors told her they’d never had a clot that big in someone so young person seen.

Ms Seaton said: “The visible symptoms on the outside were a purple mottled leg. It can be very hot, which was mine. There was excruciating pain that was sharp and stabbing. The day it all started I didn’t know what it was.

“A walk that normally took two minutes took 30 minutes because I had to stop and start over and over again. Luckily my mum had a blood clot and stood up for me, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here today.”

Ms Seaton explained how she underwent emergency surgery to remove the clot at Southampton Hospital, which took three and a half hours – and said it was that experience that caused her post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I was awake the whole time. We were told the anesthetist couldn’t come for the next two weeks and if we waited I would die,” she said.

“I had a local anesthetic but I felt everything. They pulled veins out of the keyhole. I became more and more excited, so that my oxygen level dropped. I screamed and cried and begged her to stop.”

She said she now suffers from post-thrombotic syndrome, which some people get after blood clots – adding that this causes pain and swelling in her limbs. The leg where she had the clot will always be larger than the other and it feels painful when she sits down or stands up, she added.

Ms Seaton said: “I can work out but I’ll probably be in bed because I can’t move afterwards. I wanted to be a social worker but was in too much pain – sometimes I wake up and my leg thinks, “No, you’re not moving”.

“I’m definitely angry about the surgery. I have flashbacks from the surgery. I had to work a lot with a therapist to even try going to a hospital – I would just walk away. It definitely contributed to anxiety and depression.”



Jess should have been prescribed a different form of contraception given her family history.

Mrs Seaton’s solicitor

She said the ordeal was “life changing” which resulted in her losing her teenage years. She plans to launch a campaign to demand that the NHS carry out blood tests on women before they take any type of birth control pill.

Ms Seaton added: “Everyone has white coat syndrome and trusts anything that comes out of the mouths of doctors and nurses.”

According to the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, the risk of a blood clot in people who use a combined hormonal contraceptive is three times higher than in people who don’t take it.

Caroline Moore, a lawyer assisting Ms Seaton, said: “Jess was disappointed in her medical care when the nurse who prescribed the pill did not respond to the information she was given.

“Jess should have been prescribed a different form of contraception given her family history. As it stands, she has been robbed of some of the key years of her life and has residual symptoms that will affect her forever. It’s a shame that blood tests to detect coagulation disorders are currently not routine before the pill is prescribed.”

Ms Moore said she represented Ms Seaton in a medical negligence claim which she won and received a large sum of damages.

Ms Moore, managing partner of Medical Solicitors, a law firm based in Sheffield, said that although she doesn’t know for sure, she suspects the nurse Ms Seaton saw took a “paternalistic approach to contraception for a 15-year-old “has pursued”.

“And [she] Jess didn’t trust taking the minipill every day and so chose the combined birth control pill, which was totally inappropriate given the family history,” she added.

A representative from Southampton University Hospital said: “We are not familiar with the reports and would encourage the patient to get in touch with us through our patient service so we can look into the matter.”

dr Alison Cave, chief safety officer at the medicines and healthcare products regulator, said they scrutinize the safety of all medicines to make sure “the benefits outweigh the risks.”

She added: “The safety of the public is our top priority. The risk of blood clots from using combined birth control pills is very small but has been known for many years.

“When deciding to prescribe or use the pill, all risk factors for blood clots should be considered, including a family history of thrombosis.

“Prescribers and pill users should familiarize themselves with the main risk factors for blood clots and the main signs and symptoms, which are provided in the product information and additional risk materials for these products.”

dr Cave said they advise that hormonal birth control pills “are highly effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy and the benefits associated with their use outweigh the risks for most people.”

But she urged anyone concerned about the risks of their hormonal birth control to speak to their GP or birth control provider, but to continue taking their birth control until they have spoken to them.

“Suddenly stopping a combined hormonal contraceptive can lead to an unwanted pregnancy,” added Dr. Added Cave. “If you suspect an adverse reaction, please report it to us through the Yellow Card Program website.”

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