Healthy SC teen dies of heart problems after too much caffeine

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16 May, 2017

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts say an excessive amount of caffeine ultimately led to the death of a Midlands high school student.

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.

A caffeine overdose killed a SC teenager last month, the Richland County coroner said Monday. "Parents please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks", said Davis' father, Sean Cripe.

'And teenagers and students, please stop buying them.

Related: How dangeorus are energy drinks, really?

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association last month found energy drink consumers could be at higher risk of abnormal heart beats and risky changes in blood pressure.

Dying from too much caffeine is "very rare", said Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler, president of the S.C. Coroner's Association.

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"I stand before you as a brokenhearted father and hope that something good can come from this", Cripe said.

Watts said an autopsy of Cripe showed no signs of an "unfounded" or "undiagnosed heart condition".

"These drinks can be very risky", Watts said.

"A cup of coffee, a can of soda isn't going to cause this thing", said Dr. Amy Durso, deputy chief medical examiner for Richland County. Based on Cripe's weight, Watts says the amount of caffeine consumed was above what is considered a "safe limit".

Watts said the boy was doing something he thought was totally harmless, but an excessive amount of caffeine can be extremely unsafe.

EMS received the call about Davis collapsing in class at 2:28 p.m., Watts said. Therefore, by drinking just three highly caffeinated beverages, Cripe could have easily consumed well over the daily limit of 400 mg in just two hours, leading to a caffeine overdose. "I'm telling my friends and family don't drink them".


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