Call for awareness of sudden adult death syndrome

By Advanced Medical Services AMS24 Sep 2010

Call for awarneness of sudden adult death syndrome

GREATER PUBLIC awareness is needed about sudden adult death syndrome, a coroner said yesterday at an inquest into the death of a girl who collapsed and died at a friend’s 18th birthday party. 

Nicole Campbell (16), of Barr na Háille, Claremorris, was dancing with friends at a house party in Ballindine on March 6th last when she appeared to faint. She died shortly afterwards despite efforts to resuscitate her. 

Dr Fadel Bennani, a consultant pathologist at Mayo General Hospital, said that in recent years there had been increasing evidence that such deaths may be due to faults within the electrical activity of the heart.

"It may run in a family," Dr Bennani said.

The pathologist explained that Dr Mary Sheppard, of the department of pathology at Royal Brompton Hospital in London, who had examined the case, had recommended that the family be apprised of the situation regarding sudden adult death syndrome.

After returning a verdict of sudden adult death syndrome in accordance with the medical evidence, coroner for south Mayo John O’Dwyer said such sudden deaths were unfortunately becoming more common.

"The public should be made more aware that the risks are there," the coroner said.

The inquest heard that Nicole, a student at St Colman’s College, Claremorris, was a friendly, outgoing person who loved music and was involved in her school musical.

She had been attending her friend Maura Callaghan’s 18th birthday party and was, according to her friends, "totally normal" before she collapsed.

At the conclusion of the inquest, the dead girl’s mother, Dorothy, said the family was "totally devastated at losing our beautiful Nicole".