16-year-old Davis Allen Cripe collapsed in a classroom in his high school outside Columbia, South Carolina last month, and died in an emergency room.
On May 15th, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts announced that Davis died from drinking a large Mountain Dew, a latte from McDonalds, and an energy drink within the span of two hours, causing his heart to fail.
Watts officially ruled the cause of death as a caffeine-induced cardiac event.
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Cripe's father, Sean Cripe, attended the press conference. We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. "We lost Davis from a totally legal substance".
The excessive intake of caffeinated drinks had caused Cripe to undergo a medical condition known as arrhythmia, which results in abnormal heartbeat, lack of blood circulation and ultimate shut down of brain, heart and other vital organs of the body. According to Watts, on the day of his death, Davis had a latte from McDonald's around 12:30 p.m., then consumed a Diet Mountain Dew "a little time after that". Of course, when an otherwise seemingly healthy teen suddenly dies, people often assume that drugs were involved. He followed the soft drink with an energy drink, but the coroner didn't name which one.
The autopsy showed no "unfounded" or "undiagnosed heart condition", said Watts, who was careful not to call Davis' death a caffeine overdose. But it wasn't a auto crash that took his life.
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Watts did not specify which energy drinks were consumed, but in general, a 24-ounce energy drink can contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine. "You can have five people line up and all of them do the exact same thing with him that day, drink more, and it may not have any type of effect on them at all".
"These drinks can be very unsafe", Watts said. Parents: please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. "It's the amount and also the time frame in which these caffeinated beverages are consumed that can put you at risk".
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