National Patient Spokesperson, Coalition to Prevent DVT
Melanie Bloom never envisioned herself taking center stage on an important public-health issue. But after
her husband, NBC News correspondent David Bloom, died from complications of deep-vein thrombosis
(DVT) while covering the war in Iraq, she felt the need to speak out.
After David’s death in April 2003, Melanie became more aware of DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE), a
potentially fatal complication of DVT. She learned about the risk factors for this condition – such as
restricted mobility – that may have led to the development of David’s fatal blood clot. Melanie also
learned that David had a silent risk factor, Factor V Leiden – an inherited blood-coagulant disorder that
can increase a person’s risk of DVT. Having three or more risk factors for DVT may put someone at risk
and can lead to a potentially fatal PE.
One of the most important things Melanie learned is that the risk of DVT can be reduced if you are aware
of the risk factors, signs and symptoms.
Melanie has received more than 15,000 letters and e-mails of support, including those from people who
said David’s story has made them aware of their own risk for DVT and consequently, saved their lives.
Such letters and personal stories from others inspire her to continue to serve as a national patient
spokesperson on behalf of the Coalition to Prevent DVT.
Since becoming a champion of DVT awareness, Melanie has participated in national media campaigns,
spoken at hospitals and medical conferences throughout the country, and taken center stage in the
Coalition’s Public Service Announcements (PSA). In prior years, as part of the national campaign,
Melanie’s NBC News friends and David’s former colleagues, including Ann Curry, Al Roker and
Meredith Vieira, also took part in the Coalition’s PSA and Coalition media events. To date, more than
one billion educational messages have been disseminated through the Coalition’s efforts, but Melanie
knows that more needs to be done.
On the public policy front, she has played a role locally and nationally. On the local level, Melanie has
helped to garner the support of top policy makers in cities and states nationwide to declare March as DVT
Awareness Month. On the federal level, she has served on the Steering Committee for the National
Quality Forum to help establish consensus on DVT treatment guidelines. She has also participated in
outreach on Capitol Hill to further legislation, much of which became a catalyst for the recent Surgeon
General’s Call to Action to Prevent DVT and PE. Melanie had the distinct honor of representing the
Coalition, as Acting Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H, issued the Call to
Action on Sept. 15, 2008 to drive awareness to reduce the number of cases of DVT and PE in the United
States. The Call to Action deems DVT a national public health priority. Melanie was present at the
announcement and nationally recognized for her commitment to raising DVT awareness.
Her ongoing hope in telling David’s and her story is that she can continue to help raise public awareness
of this silent, serious medical condition that took her husband’s life.