Wendy Kline (age 14): Another Death from Energy Drinks?

 

On December 17, 2011, around 8:30pm, my daughter’s friend ran down the stairs to tell me that something was wrong with Anais. I went up the stairs, and saw her slumped onto her side on the couch.

I sat next to her, tapping her cheek, and calling out her name. She gasped, and her eyes rolled back. I immediately moved her to the floor and realized that she stopped breathing. I started CPR while dialing 911.

While it seemed like an eternity, EMS arrived about 10 minutes later. It took them 4 different shocks with the defibrillator to stabilize her.

While they worked on Anais, I questioned her friend about their activities while they were at the mall a few hours before this happened. He swore that they didn’t do anything bad, except for buying an energy drink. I would never allow my children to have those drinks, because I imagined they had a lot of unnecessary chemicals in them.

When we arrived at our hospital, I asked if the energy drink could’ve caused this. The doctor said, “it could have, but we aren’t sure…”.

After a few hours of getting her stabilized, we flew to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Over the next 2 days, I sat with my coma-induced daughter as she was packed with ice, in order to bring her body temp down to 93 degrees. This enables the brain to rest, after oxygen deprivation. After 48 hours, they attempted to bring her out of sedation. But, after her blood pressure spiked to an extremely high level, and she exhibited seizure-like activity, they put her back under sedation for another day.

In the next couple of days, I watched as my daughter’s heart rate became more erratic, her left lung collapsed, and her seizure-like activity continued. Eventually, her pupils fixed, and she no longer had a gag reflex. Her brain stem was no longer functioning.

On December 22, the JHU doctors took us to a conference room where they proceeded to tell us that my lovely, kind, and intelligent daughter was brain dead. Protocol states that an assessment must be done in 24 hours to confirm brain death. At 5:37pm, on December 23, my 14 year old baby, who was always so full of life, was declared dead. She had never regained consciousness since the cardiac arrest.

Anais always wanted to help everyone, and on Xmas eve, she gave her last gift to this world. She donated her organs, and saved the lives of two people, as well as giving the gift of sight to two individuals who were blind.

On Christmas Day 2011, while everyone else was opening gifts with loved ones, Anais was having an autopsy. I advised the coroner of her activities the day before, and the day of her cardiac arrest.

I believed, wholeheartedly, that the energy drinks were to blame for her death. The week I spent by her bedside, at JH, I did a lot of research on these “beverages”. When the death certificate was filed, Anais’s cause of death was listed as “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity…”.

Please speak to your friends and family about these dangerous drinks! It CAN happen to you!

 

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