Inspired by a health scare, one member of Congress is partnering with GW Hospital to raise awareness about pulmonary embolisms – a potentially deadly medical condition where a clot blocks blood flow to the lungs.
Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., will appear in GW Hospital’s biannual Health News Magazine later this month, warning about the symptoms of clots and urging sufferers to seek medical attention.
Reed was treated for a pulmonary embolism at GW Hospital last year.
Reed’s symptoms started to appear toward the end of his campaign to represent New York’s 29th congressional district, a seat left vacant by the sudden resignation of Democratic Rep. Eric Massa in March 2010. Two days before Reed was set to be sworn into office in November, he was rushed from a congressional dinner in the District to GW Hospital with a life-threatening blood clot.
He said he ignored the symptoms of the clot for weeks, convincing himself the pain was nothing serious. The clot, however, broke free from his leg and lodged itself in the main artery to his lung.
“I was stubborn,” Reed said about the health scare. “If I wasn’t as stubborn, we could have avoided that.”
Reed now takes blood-thinning medications, watches his diet carefully and has begun working out to prevent such a scare from happening again.
He also remains hopeful about the efficacy of the awareness campaign.
“If it even saves one person’s life, that’s good,” Reed said. “I mean – that’s what it’s all about.”