The C.A.R.E. Foundation Krissy Taylor
March 9, 2012 by staff
The C.A.R.E. Foundation Krissy Taylor, At seventeen years old, my daughter Krissy was already a successful model; bright, beautiful, and full of love and life. But, on July 2, 1995, Krissy died suddenly without warning, leaving our family devastated and questioning how something like this could happen to such a vibrant, seemingly healthy, girl.
We were told that the cause of Krissy’s death was an acute asthma attack complicated by a sudden cardiac arrhythmia.
We knew that Krissy had allergies and occasionally suffered with upper respiratory congestion for which she took over-the-counter Primatene Mist.
However, she had no prior history of asthma, and certainly no symptoms of such severity to forewarn us to the risk of sudden death.
Confused and uncertain about the medical examiner’s diagnosis, and searching for answers, we contacted Dr. Robert Myerburg at the University of Miami Medical Center and Jackson Memorial Hospital. Dr. Myerburg, in consultation with French cardiologist, Dr. Guy Fontaine, studied tissue samples of Krissy’s heart muscle, and concluded that the more likely cause of her sudden death was a rare cardiac disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD).
As the severity of this disease progresses, symptoms ranging from palpitations and fainting (syncope) to sudden death caused by a fatal arrhythmia may result because the affected area becomes electrically unstable.
Even though Krissy received regular medical checkups, she’d never had an electrocardiogram (EKG), which may have shown that she had this potentially lethal condition prior to the fatal attack. In the two years since Krissy’s death, we have learned that other cardiac conditions which also strike young, and otherwise healthy, people may be identified on an EKG. Needless to say, our family questions why doctors do not routinely perform EKG screening at some time during adolescence or young adulthood.
In addition, parents, coaches, and school health professionals should be aware of the primary symptoms of heart conditions that may occur in children and young adults. It is not normal for a young person to experience fainting, or near-fainting spells, or rapid heart beats while at rest. Any of these symptoms should be brought to the attention of your family doctor as soon as possible. Even though most children, adolescents, and young adults who faint do not have life-threatening diseases, screening can be life-saving for the small number who do.
Losing Krissy has been the most painful experience that has ever happened to our family. We miss her beautiful smile, her laughter, and most of all, the love and affection she showed us everyday of her life.
Our family is dedicated to keeping Krissy’s memory alive, and also to sending a message to others so that this kind of tragedy does not happen to another family.
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