Is COVID-19 causing blood clots? San Francisco doctor says he sees 'abnormal clotting pattern' among patients

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 36-year-old, Christina Mortimore tested positive for COVID-19, and is now temporarily disabled after doctors found multiple blood clots throughout her body.

Dr. Christopher Colwell, Chief of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Emergency Room is seeing a handful of COVID-19 patients with the same unusual blood clots.

"A group of patients where the virus is clearly impacting the ability to clot and creating an abnormal clotting pattern. That can sometimes be very dangerous," said Dr. Colwell.

Blood clots can cause strokes and heart attacks.

"There could be a larger group that don't get studied because we haven't understood over the past six to eight weeks exactly how this impacts the bleeding system. There were many patients early on that could've clots and didn't know it," said Dr. Colwell.

RELATED: COVID-19 also causing blood clot complications among patients

We asked Dr. Colwell if there was any explanation for these blood clots mysteriously appearing.

"No. Other than the fact that the virus is behaving in this way and impacting these different systems. We don't know exactly why or why some patients are affected this way and others are not"

For weeks, Mortimore was having trouble walking and breathing. Doctors at her local urgent care told her to rest. On her final visit, she was rushed to John Muir Hospital in Concord.

"We got to go to the ER and I just remember thinking in my head I didn't get to say goodbye to my son before my appointment. He was sleeping, and I was like what if I don't see him again? What if this is it?" said Mortimore.

Doctors found blood clots in multiple parts of her body.

"Large blood clot in my right leg, in my calf, and I have blood clots in both lungs. They call it bilateral pulmonary embolism. I'm on blood thinners and still not walking great. I'm with a walker," said Mortimore.

While in the hospital, Mortimore remembers fearing for her life while also praying her dad would survive his own fight against COVID-19. Mike Arevalo, a California Lottery sales representative was in the ICU for three weeks on a medically induced coma. Arevalo woke up last week.

"I know that my dad is so lucky to be alive and we are definitely not out of the woods with him yet. He still has a long road to recover," said Mortimore.

RELATED: 'We are not out of the woods yet,' Mayor London Breed provides COVID-19 update after extending shelter-in-place order in San Francisco

Dr. Colwell believes there are more patients with COVID-19 who don't know they have blood clots whose lives might be in danger.

"We are learning a lot about this virus as we move forward and there is a lot still to be learned," said Dr. Colwell.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.