Watch CBS News

Widowed Mother Warns Of Blood Clot Risk

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- It's game night for the Stich family, even though someone is missing.

"My kids … they don't get to have their dad," Patti Stitch said.

A month ago, her husband Paul Stitch told her he was having pain in his left leg before they left on a family trip to a water park.

"I didn't really think anything of it," Patti Stitch said.

When they got to the park, Paul Stitch had trouble breathing and collapsed. He was taken to a hospital and died just two hours later from a pulmonary embolism.

"I said, 'Is he dead?' And she goes, 'Yeah.' I just kept screaming that they told me it was an anxiety attack. I just kept telling them, 'What the heck happened?'" Patti Stitch said.

Dr. Michael Hu, a vascular surgeon at Hennepin County Medical Center, says pulmonary embolisms happen when blood clots in major veins break off and travel -- then block off the lungs.

"It can happen to anyone," Hu said. "Common risk factors include immobility, either from plane travel, car travel, immobility in the hospital after a big operation."

Paul Stitch was a truck driver for 20 years.

Hu said blood clots can go unnoticed for their often generic symptoms.

"You can have some pain or Charley horse-type pain, you can have some swelling, you can have some discoloration," Hu said.

Patti Stitch is hoping her family's loss could educate others to save a life.

"When he was saying how his leg hurt, you know, I just should've just, just should have made him go, I just should of," she said. "Make sure you take your precautions and you say it could happen because I thought we'd be together forever."

If you think you have symptoms of a blood clot, you should immediately go to an emergency room. If you'd like to donate to help the Stich family, click here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.