Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kids shouldn’t die before their parents

I have heard a radio ad several times recently that really caught my attention.

It is simply a father calling and leaving messages for his daughter who was supposed to meet him for lunch. We aren’t told why she didn’t make the lunch date or why she isn’t answering her phone. This ad catches my attention like a beacon, like a clarion.

I have heard those types of messages on cell phones. I have heard the stories of fathers (and mothers) leaving such messages on the phones of their sons and daughters. There are many nights that I pray that I will never leave messages in such a situation.

Unspoken in all of this is that sometimes kids die before their parents (kids shouldn’t die before their parents). Kids die through no fault of their own. Kids die because they take chances. Kids die because they make bad choices. May this never happen to your kids (or mine).


Anonymous said...

my son Kris died on July 5,08. He was 21 and would have been 22 on Nov. 8th. No drugs or achohol were
present. They say it was fatigue.
I need someone to help me understand! PLEASE..............

Dr. Richard Keller said...

Autopsy results, if done, would be the key in a case like this. It would be incredibly unusual for a 21 year old to die from “fatigue”, assuming that he was a normally healthy individual. With no drugs and no trauma or other overt sign of the cause of death, infectious and cardiac causes would be most likely. Pneumonia (bacterial or viral) should be investigated. Meningitis would be another consideration.

Highly likely in cases such as this are heart causes. An infection (often viral) in the heart can kill. Another condition to investigate is heart muscle hypertrophy (enlargement) that can occur with minimal signs before death. It is most often “idiopathic”, meaning we don’t know why it happens. These individuals’ deaths can also be related to rhythm problems in the heart, either idiopathic, congenital (condition born with), or due to another heart condition/disease (e.g. a diseased valve).

Asking the Coroner or Medical Examiner involved in your son’s death about these possibilities may help get you a better answer than “fatigue”. I would opine, although the information is limited, that his heart was the cause of his death. Very often there are no warning signs and death is the first symptom.

I know little can assuage your grief, but I hope this information helps some.