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Parents sue Monster after energy drinks linked to teen's death

Parents in Illinois may want to watch what their kids are consuming. Many teenagers enjoy drinking energy drinks but few parents understand the real complications that can arise due to their consumption. A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against an energy drink company because the parents of a teenager believe the drink contributed to her death.

The defendant in the case is Monster Energy Corporation, the manufacturer of a well-known energy drink. According to the suit, the company's drink caused a 14-year-old female to go into cardiac arrest in December. If this is the case, many changes may come from this case -- damages will likely be included as well.

Reports indicate that the teen had drank two 24-ounce cans of the company's energy beverage in a single 24-hour period on Dec. 17, 2011. She drank one at the mall with her friends and consumed another that evening some time. Later, she was watching a movie at home and went into cardiac arrest. She was rushed to the hospital where she was put on life support to reduce brain swelling. She was on life support for six days until the decision was made to take her off. She did not regain consciousness and was pronounced dead the day before Christmas Eve.

A medical examiner determined that caffeine toxicity had caused cardiac arrhythmia, her cause of death. The complications from the caffeine had agitated a condition that the teen suffered from: mitral valve regurgitation. According to reports, this condition can cause a valve in the heart to function improperly.

The amount of caffeine in an energy drink such as the one consumed in this case is 240 milligrams per 24-ounce can. This means that, combined, the teen may have consumed nearly 480 milligrams of caffeine, an amount on par with more than a dozen cans of Coca Cola. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not monitor the amount of caffeine in energy drinks because they are considered dietary supplements, not soft drinks, though some may argue that they are marketed as such.

Source: Washington Examiner, "Family of deceased Hagerstown teen sues Monster Energy," Ben Giles, Oct. 20, 2012

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