Pregnant blogger's cause of sudden death revealed: What to know about pulmonary embolisms

Elizabeth Di Filippo
·Editor
·3 min read

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Emily Mitchell, a popular mommy blogger, died suddenly at her home of a pulmonary embolism. (Images via Instagram/TheHiddenWay)
Emily Mitchell, a popular mommy blogger, died suddenly at her home of a pulmonary embolism. (Images via Instagram/TheHiddenWay)

The family of Emily Mitchell, a blogger who died in December while pregnant with her fifth child, has revealed the cause of her unexpected death.

In a recent post to the family’s GoFundMe page, Mitchell’s husband, Joseph, confirmed that the cause of death provided by the Medical Examiner’s Office was a pulmonary embolism.

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“Although it is challenging to wrap our heads around how this could have happened, we know all first responders and medical personnel did everything they could to help, and therefore we are certain that it was simply her time,” the statement read. “The Lord was calling her home.”

What is a pulmonary embolism?

Pulmonary embolisms occur when one of the lung’s main arteries are blocked. This life-threatening condition occurs when blood clots from other parts of the body, like deep veins in the legs (deep vein thrombosis), travel to the lungs. Pulmonary embolisms can also occur when the lungs become blocked by tumours or air bubbles.

The 36-year-old died suddenly on Dec. 22 at her home in Rhode Island, while having breakfast with her family. Mitchell was 16 weeks pregnant with a son, whom the couple reportedly had plans to name Joey. She leaves behind four children, Finn, Isla, Eddie and Lulu.

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What are the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism?

Although symptoms vary, pulmonary embolisms often present with shortness of breath, sharp chest pains and a cough. Other symptoms include light-headedness, coughing up blood, fever and sweating. Unless immediately treated, pulmonary embolisms can permanently compromise lung function and can lead to death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 60,000-100,000 people die from deep vein thrombosis related pulmonary embolisms each year in the United States. Although there is treatment for pulmonary embolisms, sudden death is the first symptom in approximately 25 per cent of pulmonary embolism cases.

Women are higher risk for developing blood clots during pregnancy and for the first three months postpartum due to bodily changes which cause less blood flow to the legs. Seek immediate medical attention to rule out blood clots in your legs if you experience swelling and redness in your limbs or notice that your limb is painful and warm to the touch.

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Mitchell chronicled her life as a Christian mom through her blog, The Hidden Way, which has more than 178,000 followers on Instagram.

“Our hearts are broken and her joyful presence will be greatly missed by so many,” friends wrote of her passing earlier this year. “Em made a big impact in so many people’s lives, and this loss is incomprehensible for anyone who knew her.”

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