'I’ve lost the love of my life, my best friend, my soulmate'

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A father-of-three collapsed and died at his home after medics missed signs of possible deep vein thrombosis.

Ricky Collier, 29, from Bamber Bridge, had visited his GP numerous times after suffering from shortness of breath and calf pain in the last few months.

Katie and Ricky

Katie and Ricky

Now his fiancée is urging people with unexplained shortness of breath to get blood tests.

“Ricky went to his GP five times in five weeks and was off work for nearly six weeks by the time he passed away,” said Katie Hill, Ricky’s fiancée.He was diagnosed as suffering from

laryngitis and bronchitis, and was given antibiotics after the third visit.

After two weeks Ricky – who worked as a call centre operative at Akinika near to Winckley Square – also visited Royal Preston Hospital complaining of pain in his calf.

Ricky and Katie with children Alicia, Alfie, and Ava

Ricky and Katie with children Alicia, Alfie, and Ava

He thought the pain was a result of him taking a tumble at home – something Katie says nurses agreed with.Ricky was also given an X-ray and electrocardiogram, or ECG, on Wednesday,

March 7, but the results came back clear.

But a week later Ricky collapsed and died at home. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him for more than 30 minutes but did not succeed.

For 29-year-old Katie, the situation might have been avoided if Ricky had undergone a blood test to find the clot that – unbeknownst to him – had formed in his body.

The NHS worker said: “No one offered him a blood test.

“It could have resolved it – I don’t know if he could have been saved but it is about getting checked in the first place.

“He was a fit and healthy 29-year-old; something was missed.

“He was immobile for five weeks pottering about not able to move for long. For me I don’t understand why he was not given anything to trace for blood clots.”

Katie has since been told that he was suffering from a combination of deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism – or a blocked artery in the lungs.

Katie added: “I don’t want other people to go through what me and my children have. I have got three children who are beside themselves.

“I would not wish this on my worst enemy; I’ve lost the love of my life, my best friend, my soulmate.”

Ricky leaves behind three children in Alicia 10, Alfie, four, and Ava, two.

For Katie, the situation has been made easier thanks to Ricky’s employers Akinika, who have given her £5,000 to cover funeral costs as well as a full month’s wage.

“I just want to say thank you to them for this,” said Katie. “To offer such a generous thing like this is amazing. I don’t know where I would be without them.”

Katie’s father, Peter Hill, said: “It’s absolutely superb in that respect. He had worked there for seven years and I thought ‘what a good gesture’; it’s helped Katie out tremendously.”“My dad

knew how much Ricky loved me,” said Katie. “We are such a positive family unit who just love each other’s company. Everyone is so shocked and devastated.”

Ricky’s local pool league, the Preston and District Pool League, have also taken it upon themselves to help Katie and the children out where they can and are hosting a fund-raiser on Saturday, April 7, at Ingol Social Club.

Ricky’s funeral is on Thursday at 2:30pm at Preston Crematorium.

What is DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops within a deep vein in the body, usually in the leg.

It can cause pain and swelling in the leg and may lead to serious complications such as pulmonary embolism which occurs when a piece of blood clot breaks off into the bloodstream and blocks one of the blood vessels in the lungs.

In some cases, there may be no symptoms of DVT, but if symptoms do occur they can include pain, swelling and tenderness in one of your legs, a heavy ache in the affected area, warm skin in the area of the clot, and red skin, particularly at the back of your leg below the knee.

The NHS states: “It can be difficult to diagnose DVT from symptoms alone, so your GP may advise that you have a specialised blood test called a D-dimer test.

“This test detects pieces of blood clot that have been broken down and are loose in your bloodstream. The larger the number of fragments found, the more likely it is that you have a blood clot in your vein.”