A widower has spoken of the pain of feeling his wife’s hand turn cold after her migraine-like symptoms proved much worse.
Natasha Hewitt, 35, began feeling unwell in December and was given antibiotics and painkillers for a suspected ear infection after visiting a walk-in center.
But just two days later she was rushed to the hospital.
There, Natasha was diagnosed with a large blood clot, a so-called sinus vein thrombosis.
This happens when a blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses, preventing blood from draining out of the brain, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
As a result, blood cells can break and blood can enter the brain tissue, causing bleeding.
Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, fainting and even loss of control of movements in body parts and seizures.
She was transferred to a specialist brain unit for surgery but tragically died two days later.
For the first time since Natasha’s death, her husband Nick, 42, said: “Everything seemed perfect. We were actually trying to have another baby.”
“However, everything changed when Natasha started complaining of feeling unwell last December.
“The last time I saw Natasha open her eyes was when she was transferred. We hoped and prayed that she would pull through, but unfortunately she failed.”
“We got to spend our last final moments together. It was absolutely horrible to feel her hand getting cold and the color in her face changing, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”
“Natasha was a beautiful soul, there was nothing bad in her; she was just a kind and caring person.”
Natasha, from Sheffield, South York, first complained of pain spreading from her back to her head and left ear on Sunday, December 11 last year.
She took strong painkillers and managed to go Christmas shopping with Nick and their young son Harry.
During their last shopping trip together, the couple bought Harry his first pair of shoes.
But her pain continued and she experienced migraine-like symptoms and struggled to stand up without feeling dizzy.
The following Wednesday, she attended a consultation where she was prescribed antibiotics and painkillers for a suspected ear infection.
Two days after the first antibiotic prescription, Natasha, who had suffered from blood clots in the past, was admitted to hospital.
Natasha, who studied business administration at the Open University with a degree in accounting, was transferred to specialist surgery later in the day.
Surgeons operated on Natasha on Saturday, December 17, to relieve pressure on her brain. She died around 1am the next morning.
Heartbroken Nick added: “Natasha sought medical advice but she didn’t seem to be getting better; in fact, she seemed to be getting worse.”
“Natasha was unable to look after Harry and I felt powerless to help her.
“It got to the point where I thought enough was enough and she had to go to hospital.
“She couldn’t get up, she was vomiting, her speech was confused. She couldn’t even hold back water.”
Nick described the moment when he realized the true gravity of Natasha’s condition.
“When I arrived at the hospital I was taken to a small room and offered a hot drink. “I knew then how serious it was,” he remembers.
“I sat at her bedside and spoke to her as she was unresponsive. I held her hand and cried while saying, ‘I’m so sorry’.”
Natasha and Nick had suffered eleven miscarriages and two failed rounds of IVF before finding out they were expecting Harry.
She was diagnosed with a blood clot in the placenta at 25 weeks of pregnancy and doctors decided to deliver Harry 14 weeks early in July 2021.
The following month, Natasha was also treated in hospital for a blood clot in her lungs.
Harry spent 18 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit before being allowed home with his parents.
Nick, who has now appointed medical negligence lawyers to investigate Natasha’s death, added: ‘We thought it wasn’t meant to be, but then suddenly found out Natasha had been expecting it. We were overjoyed.”
“When Harry was born there were some really tough and emotional times but he showed great fight.
“We were so excited to bring him home to start our life together as a family.
“Harry has made amazing progress and development. We had a family day every week where we went swimming, went to the park or took a long walk.”
An inquest into Natasha’s death is due to take place this week and is expected to last three days.
Rosie Charlton, the specialist medical negligence solicitor at Irwin Mitchell who is representing Nick, said: “While nothing can bring Natasha back, the inquest is an important milestone in giving them the answers they deserve.”
“Blood clots can be incredibly serious and need to be treated quickly.
“If problems are identified in Natasha’s care during the course of the investigation, it is important to learn lessons to improve patient safety.”
Recent research has found that women with four common health problems are eight times more likely to have blood clots.
Symptoms of a blood clot
Blood clots form when blood clumps together and clots.
There are two types of the disease.
A blood clot in one of the large veins in a person’s leg or arm is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
If DVT is not treated, it can move or break off and travel to the lungs.
A blood clot in the lungs is now known as a pulmonary embolism (PE) – this can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of DVT include:
- Swelling in your arm or leg
- Pain or tenderness that is not caused by an injury
- Skin that feels warm, swollen, or painful
- Redness of the skin
Symptoms of PE include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden, stabbing chest pain that may worsen when you breathe in
- Coughing up blood
- fast or irregular heartbeat
Source: NHS, CDC