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23-year-old Fernandina Beach woman dies from what some health officials call ‘silent killer’

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla — 23-year-old Emily Adkins was just starting out in life. She recently bought a home, and she was putting her health administration degree to work at Dayspring Senior Living in Hilliard.

“She had a radiant smile,” Doug Adkins said about his daughter. “Emily was incredibly fun and a happy person. Probably most important—she was her mom’s best friend.”

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The University of North Florida graduate had emergency gallbladder surgery in August and in September she suffered a fall, fracturing her ankle.

“She was literally six days away from being able to put weight on her foot, when she just suddenly passed,” Janet Adkins, said.

Emily died of a pulmonary embolism from a blood clot. Her parents, Doug and Janet, feel more should have been done from a medical stand point, while she was being treated at Mayo Clinic on the Southside.

“It was so unexpected,” Janet Adkins said. “After you get through this this period of disbelief, you start asking questions. You start asking why?”

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The Adkins’ filed a formal complaint. The doctor who treated her is now being investigated by the Florida Department of Health, according to documents obtained by Action News Jax.

We reached out to Mayo Clinic for a response. A spokesperson sent us this statement:

“Mayo Clinic is aware of the concerns being made by the family. We offer our deepest sympathies for their loss. Our commitment to privacy laws restricts us from discussing the details of this matter.”

“What happens is you notice the empty chair at the table, and it’s just a constant reminder of-- you know-- the anguish, the loss, and the tragedy,” Doug Adkins said. “You just never escape that.”

Her parents decided to take anguish and turn it into action.

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“I sat down one night, and started drafting context of a proposed bill,” Doug Adkins said.

Fast forward to May 2023, that proposal is now the ‘Emily Adkins Blood Clot Prevention Act.’ It just passed the senate with 23 senator sponsors. It now sits on the Governor’s desk, awaiting approval. If signed into law, it would require a policy workgroup dedicated to studying blood clots.

“Our hope is that this legislation will save other families from going through the grief that we live every day,” Janet Adkins said. “We just look forward to seeing her again in heaven.”

The Adkins family has created a non-profit in Emily’s name dedicated to scholarships and research. It’s called Emily’s Promise.

Click here to read the DOH investigation letter.

For more information on the risks of excessive blood clotting click here.

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