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Another death from HCM

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  • Another death from HCM

    I have been following the story of Mc Collins Umeh, who died last month during his first workout with the Univ of Arizona football team. He was 18 years old and was a much sought after football prospect. He had a physical 4 hours prior to the workout and passed it. The autopsy results came out yesterday and it was concentric hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
    Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

  • #2
    Re: Another death from HCM

    I don’t know. You have a beautiful son who you send off to college – he passes a pre-football physical and goes out to his first workout – and drops dead.

    Obviously nobody, not even the doctors, ever suspected that this young man was a walking time bomb, and when the bomb went off, they did not have the equipment or knowledge to save him. I also think of the people who posted on these boards how they were pushed and punished in school because they physically could not keep up – most of them not knowing they had HCM at the time, and so they pushed and tried to exceed their limits – unwittingly putting their own lives on the line.

    Then I think of the cardiologist I just saw who thinks you can get HCM from other causes – like high blood pressure. Those of us who frequent these boards are the very lucky ones. We know what we have, have a good working knowledge of the proper care and treatment needed, and can seek out competent medical supervision.

    Most of the HCM population is not nearly as lucky. They have never been properly diagnosed and have no idea of their condition, with their symptoms either being ignored or considered a result of being ‘out of shape.’

    How do you train the bulk of the cardiologists in this condition? How do you train the general medical professionals in how to spot the classic symptoms? How do you get school physicians to be able to weed out people at risk from heavy exertion? Even if you supply all these people with the information they need, how do you get them to read it, understand it, and remember it?

    How do you get tools to identify this condition that are both effective and reasonably priced? How do you get school staff the life saving equipment they need, and the training needed to use it effectively?

    All this and I never mentioned addressing any possible cure or preventative research that has yet to be successfully concluded. We have so far to go folks – so far to go.

    Lisa, I am once again amazed at what you’ve been able to accomplish so far. How many of us have been rescued from oblivion as a result of your own personal efforts? I stand here in humble gratitude.
    Burt

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    • #3
      Re: Another death from HCM

      Another sad story...

      Burt, you couldn't have worded it any better. The bottom line is getting the word out...starting with school staff. Starting in middle school, the phys ed teachers should be aware of any student who simply cannot keep up with the rest, gets winded easily, etc. etc. That should be a crucial part of their job. ALL athletes should be screened for HCM with an echocardiogram when entering high school (maybe before??). I have seen phys ed teachers PUSHING kids beyond their limits. (sometimes as a punishment..."Do 100 situps or run 10 laps"). What is the matter with them? It is about time this stopped. I cannot believe that any cardiologist would not at least do an echo on a young athlete...don't they know that it cannot be diagnosed by simply listening??
      \"It is not length of life, but depth of life.\"

      Ralph Waldo Emerson

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      • #4
        Re: Another death from HCM

        I spoke to "MC's" family last night. They were advised that the cause of death was HCM. The family had not been advised to seek out screenings so I am glad I called them. I spoke with his sister who was kind enough to share some of her brother with me, he hoped to get into the NFL, however if that did not happened he wanted to be a coach.

        God Bless MC, and his family.

        Peace,
        Lisa
        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Another death from HCM

          Hi Cynthia,
          Actually, sometimes HCM CAN be spotted with a stethoscope - if the doctor knows exactly what to listen for. I was diagnosed with an “Athletic” heart and a heart murmur back in the mid 1930’s – good indicators of HCM. Of course in those days I and my parents were told I would probably grow out of it – we have progressed a long way so far, but we still have a very long way to go.

          The stethoscope does not catch everybody of course, and when checking out a flock of apparently healthy young students, the doctor may not listen as closely as one might hope, and hearing something might only be good enough to indicate that this particular student should have an ECHO & EKG, - but at least that would help some of them.

          Schools are not inclined to spend $1,600 or more for an echo on each student who wants to participate in sports, run track, or just get out there and exercise – especially with the limited budgets of today. Heck, most schools will not even spend the money required to install defibrillaters and train the staff in its use. If they get one at all, it’s generally kept in the nurse’s office, and she’s the only one trained in how to operate it.

          The sequence of events is frequently – somebody collapses on the playing field. First they try to revive him by pouring water on him and patting his face. The clock is ticking. When the realization comes to them that the student is in real trouble, they send somebody to get the nurse. They usually run, and the nurse rushes to the scene, usually leaving the defibrillator behind. The clock is still ticking. After she assesses the situation she sends somebody back to her office to get it, and when they return it is then finally used – often too late. The clock has stopped. Somewhere around this time 911 is called, and the details of the student’s death are glossed over by saying things like, “He collapsed on the playing field. The school nurse tried unsuccessfully to revive him using a machine to shock his heart, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Clumsy Hospital.”

          It would be a good idea for the parents of the students who wish to go out for any form of athletics (or even all parents) to be notified by the school that it would be advisable for the student to get a complete physical, including an ECHO and EKG, before the start of their first semester. To mandate it though would bring screams of discrimination from the generally disenfranchised among us. Private schools could require it though, and it could be a part of any scholastic grant. That would go a long way in catching possible disasters before they happen.
          Burt

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Another death from HCM

            I think when an athlete has his/her sports physical exam, they should also have an echo performed (paid for by his/her health insurance). Our school district has just purchased a defribillator for each school!! (there are 11 schools and they will have one also at the central office). I gave Sharon Bates' HCM video and information to the high school nurse and she plans to promote it.

            My prayers for MC and family....
            \"It is not length of life, but depth of life.\"

            Ralph Waldo Emerson

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Another death from HCM

              Wanna know something scary?

              Our highschool basketball physicals were performed by the chiropractor! In my NJROTC there was never a physical performed and I did more physical activity there than I ever did in my life.

              We have to find ways of getting the word out. It all starts with one. I am going to at least try and work on my highschool this year. With me being a voulunteer EMT in that area maybe it will help.

              Mary S.

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              • #8
                Re: Another death from HCM

                Hi, everyone, Your subject is a great one and I am doing my part to educate my school district about HCM and sudden cardiac arrest. I am "genetically positive" for HCM but at the present time I am "clinically negative". Because of my history of HCM, I have chosen to do my senior project on Sudden Death in Student Athletes. I am an athlete, volleyball and softball, so my sports physical is more in depth that most student athletes. I am seen by a cardiologist every June at Duke Medical Center. So far my heart is "unremarkable". My senior project (high school) is raising money to place at least one AED in each of the high schools in my county--there are 6 of them. I have raised $13,149.00. Brooke de Lench from Moms Team Media.com along with Teams of Angels is helping me with the purchase of the AED's. For every 3 that I buy, they will donate one free. I am going to be able to buy 6, get 2 free, then get 1 additional one for $500 off. Teams of Angels is beginning a new campaign called "Save a Child's Life: An AED for Every Team". We hope to have the AED's in place before the first football game. Anyone interested in making a tax deductible donation, just let me know.

                Cynthia Patterson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Another death from HCM

                  Cynthia,
                  You’re absolutely marvelous. I hope you can also get the nurses, coaches and assistant coaches all trained in the use of the defibrillaters, and get them located as close to the scene of physical activity as possible. It should be part of the equipment brought to each game, and be in the gym when phys. Ed. is being performed. Spending all that money for the devises to have it stored in the nurses offices is counter-productive. It’s just too far from the probable scene of need.

                  Just maybe if the coaches are brought into the picture they might rethink there usual attitude of pushing a student beyond his/her limits – especially if he/she shows signs of shortness of breath and/or dizziness.

                  You’re a very smart girl, and have probably thought of these points already. I’m just trying to reaffirm your judgment.
                  Burt

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