Too much caffeine really can kill a person. A teen in South Carolina collapsed while in class last month after suffering a cardiac event caused by probable arrhythmia, the county coroner said.
Davis Allen Cripe, a 16-year-old high school student, had drunk too many drinks containing caffeine, which led to the heart problem, CNN reports. Arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm where the heart is not able to pump enough blood into the body, causing a lack of blood flow to the brain, heart and other organs.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts announced in a news conference that Cripe consumed a café latte, a large Diet Mountain Dew, and an energy drink in a span of two hours. He then collapsed in his classroom at Spring Hill High School on April 26.
Sean Cripe, the teen’s father, said,
Like all parents, we worry about our kids as they grow up. We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. But it wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink.
Watts said that Davis bought the latte at a McDonald’s at 12:30 p.m., then he drank the Mountain Dew and the energy drink almost immediately right after. He collapsed at 2:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m.
The autopsy showed no undiagnosed heart conditions, and indicated that Davis was healthy, having no pre-existing diseases that would have been triggered by the caffeine intake. In addition, there were no drugs or alcohol found in his system, Watts said.
Watts said, “This was not an overdose. We lost Davis from a totally legal substance. Our purpose here today is to let people know, especially our young kids in school, that these drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis.”
Sean hopes that parents and kids will realize that caffeinated beverages hold a certain danger, saying, “Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teens ages 12 to 18 years old should not drink more than 100 milligrams of caffeine daily. Any more than that has been known to raise blood pressure levels in teens. When it comes to energy drinks, “children and adolescents are advised to avoid energy drinks. They can contain a significant amount of caffeine as well as other stimulants,” the AAP said.