Sudden death: Blame it on stress, genes & severe illnesses
A Class 9 student's sudden death in school has raised concerns about congenital diseases, stress levels, and recovery after severe illness as possible causes. The autopsy report could not determine the cause of death. Experts suggest that sudden deaths can occur due to various reasons, including congenital diseases, severe illnesses like dengue shock syndrome or Covid, and stress. Autopsies and forensic studies should be conducted to identify any patterns in such cases. Schools should educate children about health and encourage them to report any sudden health issues. Sudden deaths have been reported in various settings, including schools, gyms, and offices.
The shocking passing of a Class 9 student while in school on Wednesday, has brought into focus congenital diseases, stress levels and proper recovery after severe illness. These are stated to be possible causes for such deaths.
The post-mortem examination report of the boy who died a day before could not ascertain cause of death. Nagesh Kumar Upadhaya, inspector, Aliganj police station, said, “The autopsy report said that the cause of death is not ascertained. There were no injury marks on the body. The viscera has been preserved.”
Dr Sanjay Niranjan, state president of the Indian Academy of Paediatricians (IAP) said, “Sudden death can happen to anyone at any age and has been reported among infants too. Then it is known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or cot death. There are several reasons starting with congenital diseases to adverse impact of severe diseases such as dengue shock syndrome or severe stage of Covid.”
“At times, arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat causes fatal damage. If you analyse stress, students are under tremendous pressure to perform and this is one reason for a weak heart,” said Dr Abhishek Shukla, secretary-general, Association of International Doctors.
In Lucknow, several incidents of sudden deaths occurred in the past. In November, 2022, a Class 12 student suffered a heart attack while attending school. In October, 2016, a Class 7 student met with sudden death while in school. Doctors said that to know if there is any pattern of deaths among such cases, autopsy and related forensic study should be done after death. They said sudden death in the office, school or by the roadside with no medical history should be studied.
“Children after the age of 5 years understand much about health and life. They should be taught ways to stay healthy and report to parents or school authorities any health issue they encounter suddenly. Since children often hide or ignore illness, schools should conduct weekly sessions on personal health,” said Dr Samir Mishra, senior faculty member, King George’s Medical University.
“Not just schools but sudden death cases have been reported from gyms, roadsides and even offices, where people died within minutes. If colleagues are aware of medical history they can save lives,” said Dr Gupta.