health

Abbey was just 20 when a blood clot claimed her life. Her mum says 'the pill' is to blame.

For Amanda Parkes, 43, a terrible anniversary is just around the corner.

That’s because on August 26 last year paramedics were called to the Staffordshire home of her daughter, Abbey Parkes, 20, who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

When they arrived, the paramedics found Abbey, a legal secretary, slumped in a living room chair, unconscious and not breathing.

She would never recover, making the day one that “will live with me forever,” Parkes told the Daily Mail.

abbey blood clot
Abbey was just 20 years old when she died after a cardiac arrest. Image via Facebook.

Abbey, who lived with her boyfriend Liam Grocott, "had gone off to work first thing in the morning, as usual," recalled Parkes.

"Liam received a call from her early in the morning, at about 7.30 am, telling him that she couldn't breathe and he needed to come home.

"Obviously, he dialled [emergency services] and rushed over but there was nothing that could be done."

abbey boyf liam
Abbey with her boyfriend, Liam Grocott. Image via Facebook.

After Abbey was rushed to the hospital, staff delivered the heartbreaking news that she could not be saved. "It was absolutely heartbreaking. Absolutely devastating," Parkes said.

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An inquest into Abbey's death this week has linked it to a rare clotting disorder, called Factor V Leiden. Abbey suffered a pulmonary embolism before her death.

Abbey had been taking the contraceptive pill Logynon for six years before her death, but the inquest was told that taking the pill increases the chances of blood clot by 35 per cent when the person has Factor V Leiden.

The contraceptive pill
Abbey had been taking her contraceptive pill for six years, unaware she had a condition that increased her chances of a developing a blood clot. Image via iStock.

The 20-year-old's illness was undiagnosed, despite the fact she had visited the emergency room just two weeks earlier complaining of chest pain.

"She started to complain about about a pain in the right side of her body," her mother said. "She said that she felt nauseous and that she had headaches that came and went very quickly."

On August 18, Abbey went to her GP complaining of breathlessness and was given an inhaler and steroids, which Amanda said "perked her up a lot."

Abbey mum brother
Abbey with her mum Amanda (centre) and brother Liam. Image via Facebook.
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A&E consultant Dr. Alexander Hart told the inquest that "more people have triplets than a pulmonary embolism on the pill," and said it would have been "impossible" for doctors to know that Abbey had the condition.

"That's how unusual this is," he said.

But Abbey's mother said there should be automatic screening in place for the condition before women are prescribed the contraceptive pill.

"People need to be aware of the dangers that come from taking the pill. It does increase the risk of clots and carries other health risks," she said.

abbey blood clot
Abbey was unaware she had Factor V Leiden. Image via Facebook.

"Yes, it's incredibly rare, but as Abbey's case goes to show, there's always a risk.

"There should have been some sort of warning about the dangers and the possibility that you might suffer have the genes for Factor V [when Abbey was prescribed the pill].

"There's no automatic screening for the condition, and the only reason I am able to be tested for it now is because I'm related to someone that has died from it."

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The 43-year-old is now undergoing tests to determine whether the hereditary condition was passed down to Abbey from her side of the family or her father's.

According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the risk of a blood clot is generally rare, occurring in about two in every 10,000 women per year.

For women using combined oral contraceptives, the "risk of a blood clot is increased but is still rare."

The risk is increased for women who have other risk factors for blood clots, including smoking or a hereditary predisposition for blood clots, "including activated protein (APC)-resistance (such as Factor V Leiden)."

It's recommended women discuss the benefits of risks of taking combined oral contraceptives, or any form of contraception, with their doctors before starting treatment.

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