Designing for Awareness

By Lily Robles

One of the very important things that we do as designers is to design for awareness. There are so many great organizations helping others with outreach and research and when Opus can help spread the word through our work (and in this case with our blog) we are extremely happy to help.

The North American Thrombosis Forum (NATF), is located in Brookline and this is our second year designing materials for them. Last Thursday, they held a lovely fund-raiser where Melanie Bloom was honored and spoke about the death of her husband, David Bloom, the NBC journalist who died in 2003 of a pulmonary embolism resulting from deep vein thrombosis. We met several people that night who have been touched by DVT because they or a family member have suffered. I realized I knew someone as well.

Ellery and Caroline Kernan, Director, NATFTable graphics included stories about people touched by DVT

The crazy thing about thrombosis is that the symptoms can be easily mistaken for those resulting in a simple fall. The person I knew had severe pain in her chest and the doctors sent her home after she revealed that she had fallen skiing– saying she must have bruised her rib cage. What they didn’t discuss was the fact that she had been on a plane from Japan earlier that week and while sitting for several hours, the blood clot formed in her leg. The skiing incident moved the clot to her lungs which is why she felt pain in her chest. A day later she was coughing up blood, in the emergency room, and only then did they realize she was having a pulmonary embolism. You can die from a pulmonary embolism! The people at NATF are doing great work with programs for education, prevention, advocacy, and diagnosis. I’ve learned a lot and will tell my friends to stretch on long car or plane rides and talk about DVT with doctors.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a disease that includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Risk factors that contribute to VTE are varied and include:
  • Genetic and acquired tendencies to develop blood clots (including the Factor V Leiden genetic mutation)
  • Pregnancy; use of birth control pills or hormone therapy
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Older age
  • Recent surgery (especially orthopedic surgery and total knee replacement), trauma, hospitalization, or prolonged bed rest
  • Immobilization due to extended travel