Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

Unknown Cause of death

Posted In: Medical Errors 8 Replies
  • Posted By: Incitatus
  • April 8, 2009
  • 07:01 PM

A close friend of mine died little over a month ago.

It was her 21st birthday, we all got together and had a night on the town to celebrate. Living in Austin, we had some fun at the downtown nightclubs and bars, afterwards most of us retired.

Little over 1 hour after leaving downtown, she felt the need to vomit, but the feeling dissipated and she was fine shortly afterwards.
She had a coherent conversation for about 40 minutes after that, when she suddenly fell unconscious, and began breathing erratically.
CPR was administered quickly, EMS arrived and put her on a ventilator, but could not establish a stable pulse. She died on the scene.

She did not drink excessively, and in fact had in the past had far more to drink. She showed NO OTHER outward symptoms prior to her collapse.
Her history is clean, she was in shape, ate healthy, and exercised regularly.

Autopsy showed slight pulmonary edema, but no other anomalies, and the toxicology report was clean.

Yesterday they officially put it down as an unknown cause of death, which offers NO closure to her family and friends.

If anyone has any ideas, or has seen something in anyway similar... It just helps to have some faint idea of what else it might have been other than “Unknown”

Reply Flag this Discussion

8 Replies:

  • A close friend of mine died little over a month ago. It was her 21st birthday, we all got together and had a night on the town to celebrate. Living in Austin, we had some fun at the downtown nightclubs and bars, afterwards most of us retired. Little over 1 hour after leaving downtown, she felt the need to vomit, but the feeling dissipated and she was fine shortly afterwards.She had a coherent conversation for about 40 minutes after that, when she suddenly fell unconscious, and began breathing erratically.CPR was administered quickly, EMS arrived and put her on a ventilator, but could not establish a stable pulse. She died on the scene. She did not drink excessively, and in fact had in the past had far more to drink. She showed NO OTHER outward symptoms prior to her collapse.Her history is clean, she was in shape, ate healthy, and exercised regularly. Autopsy showed slight pulmonary edema, but no other anomalies, and the toxicology report was clean. Yesterday they officially put it down as an unknown cause of death, which offers NO closure to her family and friends. If anyone has any ideas, or has seen something in anyway similar... It just helps to have some faint idea of what else it might have been other than “Unknown”Hi Incitatus,First and foremost, please accept my heartfelt condolences at the unexpected and so untimely death of your friend. And may I say that you are INDEED a great friend yourself as evidenced by your sincere attempts to make some sense of it all.As you can tell from the number of views of your post vs. the number of replies...the sudden death of your friend is not only VERY puzzling but also VERY disconcerting. I've personally re-read your post numerous times over the past three days and pondered/thrashed/researched and considered every possible "medical" scenario that I can imagine...as I'm relatively sure many other contributors to wrongdiagnosis.com have equally done. I've been hesitant to be "the first", and hoped that someone else with more insight than I would reply with some possible causes of your friend's death. As that has yet to occur, here I am with questions...with an upfront apology as the nature of these questions will undoubtedly be painful for you...but, sadly, in light of the inconclusive autopsy findings, are a necessary part of the "rule-out/rule-in" process.Were you with her throughout the entire evening...through her respiratory distress and subsequent cardiac arrest...through EMS arrival and tracheal intubation (assumed on my part as you said "EMS arrived and put her on a ventilator")? Other than what you've described with excellent detail, is there anything else you can recall of her behavior/appearance that evening that was "out of character" or unusual?Regarding "She died on the scene." Was a Medical Examiner called to the scene to pronounce?If you were with her at the time "she suddenly fell unconscious, and began breathing erratically", is that, to the best of your recollection, the definite chronological order of her onset of acute symptoms? Or did she exhibit ANY signs of respiratory distress PRIOR to losing consciousness?Regarding "Her history is clean, she was in shape, ate healthy, and exercised regularly": was there ANY history of medical conditions...ANY known past or current (at the time of her death) use of routine "medical" or psychotropic medication(s), oral contraceptives, homeopathic/herbals, etc. ...ANY known past or current recreational substance use, no matter how insignificant-seeming (other than social alcohol use, which you have stated was not in excess)?Regarding "Autopsy showed slight pulmonary edema, but no other anomalies, and the toxicology report was clean." With current US HIPAA restrictions, it's a given that you, even as a close personal friend, are not legally entitled to have your friend's health/treatment information given to you directly by any treating health care facility, health care professional, and/or pathologist. Did you receive this information from your friend's family? (I'm not witch-hunting here in the least...just trying to get an accurate picture re: the path AND validity of info). And regarding the "clean" tox screen...there surely must have been at least SOME measurable blood alcohol level present after an evening of even moderate drinking? Did you receive the tox screen info from her family?If it feels like you're being "grilled", I apologize...that's certainly not my intention. I'm just searching...as curious and puzzled as you must be.Regarding the "Autopsy" again...where was it performed? Do you have any idea of the performing Medical Examiner/Pathologist's track record re: accuracy of autopsy findings?With the current information at hand there is only one possible cause of death that comes to my mind, and even that particular one would have essentially unidentifiable causation. However, I'd prefer to hold off on speculating for the moment as your answers to the above questions may well shed some additional light. While certainly not out of the question, it's HIGHLY unusual for an otherwise healthy twenty-one year-old woman to have a sudden death with NO definitive post-mortem cause of death finding.Best to you,John
    JonMac 165 Replies Flag this Response
  • Can you tell me what she was drinking exactly?I know of a few cases in Australia where sudden death has been the cause of a certain type of alcoholic drink which contained massive amounts of sugar and Gurana.
    wasabi 17 Replies Flag this Response
  • I was thinking along the same lines but drugs - could someone have slipped something in her drink such as Ecstasy? or something else?
    maggiemay 68 Replies Flag this Response
  • A close friend of mine died little over a month ago. If anyone has any ideas, or has seen something in anyway similar... It just helps to have some faint idea of what else it might have been other than “Unknown”As evidenced by at least a few replies, there are some who would like to help you make some sense of your friend's death.Can you please share any more pertinent details that would be helpful?Thanks,John
    JonMac 165 Replies Flag this Response
  • A close friend of mine died little over a month ago. It was her 21st birthday, we all got together and had a night on the town to celebrate. Living in Austin, we had some fun at the downtown nightclubs and bars, afterwards most of us retired. Little over 1 hour after leaving downtown, she felt the need to vomit, but the feeling dissipated and she was fine shortly afterwards.She had a coherent conversation for about 40 minutes after that, when she suddenly fell unconscious, and began breathing erratically.CPR was administered quickly, EMS arrived and put her on a ventilator, but could not establish a stable pulse. She died on the scene. She did not drink excessively, and in fact had in the past had far more to drink. She showed NO OTHER outward symptoms prior to her collapse.Her history is clean, she was in shape, ate healthy, and exercised regularly. Autopsy showed slight pulmonary edema, but no other anomalies, and the toxicology report was clean. Yesterday they officially put it down as an unknown cause of death, which offers NO closure to her family and friends. If anyone has any ideas, or has seen something in anyway similar... It just helps to have some faint idea of what else it might have been other than “Unknown”Excellent post, Incitatus...and an even better exit! Guess the "good friend" accolades don't really belong to you.Sleep well,John<
    JonMac 165 Replies Flag this Response
  • Incitatus http://forums.wrongdiagnosis.com/images/buttons/viewpost.gif]A close friend of mine died little over a month ago.It was her 21st birthday, we all got together and had a night on the town to celebrate. Living in Austin, we had some fun at the downtown nightclubs and bars, afterwards most of us retired.Little over 1 hour after leaving downtown, she felt the need to vomit, but the feeling dissipated and she was fine shortly afterwards.She had a coherent conversation for about 40 minutes after that, when she suddenly fell unconscious, and began breathing erratically.CPR was administered quickly, EMS arrived and put her on a ventilator, but could not establish a stable pulse. She died on the scene.She did not drink excessively, and in fact had in the past had far more to drink. She showed NO OTHER outward symptoms prior to her collapse.Her history is clean, she was in shape, ate healthy, and exercised regularly.Autopsy showed slight pulmonary edema, but no other anomalies, and the toxicology report was clean.Yesterday they officially put it down as an unknown cause of death, which offers NO closure to her family and friends.If anyone has any ideas, or has seen something in anyway similar... It just helps to have some faint idea of what else it might have been other than “Unknown” Excellent post, Incitatus...and an even better exit! Guess the "good friend" accolades don't really belong to you. Sleep well,John Keeping my mind open here, because I really don't know anything ... about the deceased, the poster, nothing ... only text as written; hence, I rest on the notion that shortly following this post by Incitatus, the answer was found and the person(s) that posted are involved and care, most deeply, as the words appear to reflect ... enough, perhaps, to have prioritized time & actions accordingly and most appropriately. Time ... perhaps for services, memorials, and the transitional grief phases that are necessary for individuals, people, human beings, to address when there is a loss ... especially such as this. If I were faced with similar, and there were new developments such as those that I can open my mind to in this case ... I may not even have the capability to remember to come back to check on that one single post I made on a message board in the midst of my despair, perhaps in the shuffle, even forget where I posted it, and feel very preoccupied and overwhelmed by priorities along with the witnessing and support of that which others may be going through as well. No more speculation on my part, because I "know" absolutely nothing. My prayers go out to Incitatus and to everyone that this nature of loss ripples out toward into our universe; that young girl's family, her loved ones her dear friends ... in the hopes that they will get through this tough time in all of the best ways that can be expected under such difficult circumstances. Without wisdom, my knowledge is absolutely useless. ~ Many blessings ~
    neurotransmissing 145 Replies Flag this Response
  • My well wishes go out to Incitatus too in dealing with his/her loss. Quite possibly Incitatus may not have felt comfortable, giving his friends family the third degree by burdening them with is curiousity by asking them more questions over such a sensitive subject. Hence not able to give more details as other poster wished. It dont feel right to me to be judging anyone for not getting back here, esp someone dealing with such a loss
    taniaaust1 2267 Replies Flag this Response
  • Had your friend taken the Gardasil vaccination? There is a number of young woman that have died just after taking this vaccine and autopsy reports unknown cause of death. Doctors are pushing it more and more and Im covering a story on it. If you find that your friend had taken this vaccine just before her sudden death please contact me back @ Lizatrainer1@yahoo.comA close friend of mine died little over a month ago. It was her 21st birthday, we all got together and had a night on the town to celebrate. Living in Austin, we had some fun at the downtown nightclubs and bars, afterwards most of us retired. Little over 1 hour after leaving downtown, she felt the need to vomit, but the feeling dissipated and she was fine shortly afterwards.She had a coherent conversation for about 40 minutes after that, when she suddenly fell unconscious, and began breathing erratically.CPR was administered quickly, EMS arrived and put her on a ventilator, but could not establish a stable pulse. She died on the scene. She did not drink excessively, and in fact had in the past had far more to drink. She showed NO OTHER outward symptoms prior to her collapse.Her history is clean, she was in shape, ate healthy, and exercised regularly. Autopsy showed slight pulmonary edema, but no other anomalies, and the toxicology report was clean. Yesterday they officially put it down as an unknown cause of death, which offers NO closure to her family and friends. If anyone has any ideas, or has seen something in anyway similar... It just helps to have some faint idea of what else it might have been other than “Unknown”
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 3, 2009
    • 06:01 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.