The official cause of death? Cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.
“She never ever regained consciousness and we never got to say goodbye,” her mother says of the horrific night to NBC News.
The Maryland teen and her family knew she had a common heart condition called mitral valve prolapse, which causes one of the heart’s valves to malfunction. It’s a condition that affects 1 in 20 Americans, but usually doesn’t cause people any problems. But the amount of caffeine she consumed was just too much for the young teenager.
Her family says she drank two, 24-ounce Monster energy drinks, downing a combined 480 miligrams of caffeine – nearly five times the recommended limit by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Monster vehemently denies that drinking two cans of Monster by itself can cause death from caffeine toxicity, pointing out that their energy drinks contain less caffeine than some drinks sold at Starbucks and other coffee shops. It’s a valid point, but how many teenagers do you see walking around with Starbucks drinks vs energy drinks? Not very many.
Caffeine overdose is on the rise: Emergency rooms across the country have seen a significant spike, up from 1,128 in 2005 to 16,055 in 2008 and 13,114 in 2009!
Bottom line: kids should NOT be drinking energy drinks! Why does on a 14-year-old need a pick-me-up? It’s time to add energy drinks to “the talk.”