Sudden Cardiac Death: Vanessa’s Story

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April 11, 2013 | 2 Comments


  1. In 1993 I took what was intended to be a temporary leave of abscence from 3rd year med school. Could no longer keep up with the physical demands of clinicals while into my 6th year battling with AN/BN. Two six month admissions at the TGH ED inpatient program – didn’t help although I didn’t get worse. My so called care then moved back to where I lived, Ottawa which is when drugs were introduced. Cycled in and out of hospital for 15 years in a downward out of control spiral accumulating iatrogenic diagnoses and became relentlessly suicidal (OD’s, slit wrists, slit carotid).

    I believe there is a possibility my life could have ended like Vanessa. My admission from 02/97 – 04/97 I was being given Prozac 40mg qam and Cisapride/Prepulsid 30mg TID. My hospital records note: cardiotoxicty, possible drug interaction (this is not word for word as don’t have the file in front of me). Thus they d/c the Prozac and began Zoloft. In 99 right atrial enlargement and EKG borderline with nonspecific anterolateral T waves was also noted.

    Extremely difficult for me to ellucidate any kind of cause and effect in my years in the system as was prescribed so many different drugs (Prozac, Serax, Cisapride, Ativan, Moclobamide, Imovane, Temazepam, Paxil, Chlorpromazine, Trazadone, Zoloft, Clonazopan, Epival, Pindolol, Nozinan, Zantac, Effexor, Luvox, Thioridazine, Risperidone, Neurontin, Haldol, Seroquel, Lithium, Remeron, Librium, Buspirone, Prevacid, Zyprexa, Domperidone)
    often flipping back and forth and very rarely being tapered or cross tapered.

    In 2012 after retrieving my hospital records and noticing no evidence of written informed consent for half of my 26 electroshocks I went to interview the physician in question. As I walked to that meeting I passed two nurses in the hall who knew and said to my face “we assumed you were dead.”

    Prior to all this I had even been a student med clerk on the mood disorder floor in our psych hospital, the Royal Ottawa. Sick irony in a way.
    Trying to fight the system became too emotionally taxing thus now try to make a difference in my own way.

    Thank you Mr. Young for your efforts and Vanessa’s Law (that we need to be implemented) and Dr. Healy for this site.

  2. I cant thank you enough for spreading awareness and moving forward with making a difference in our Health Care system. I too have suffered similar incidents with Paxil and Paxil-CR myself, and a long list of anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, Mood stabilizers and SSRI’S. At the time of being what I feel as being a Guniea pig in a teaching hospital. I cant begin of what I could do to seek the proper treatment with several referrals to different psychiatrists as well as the Head of Psychiatry for our Province. its been since 2003 that I started treatment what began as depression and anxiety.
    this truly is refreshing but not unexpected, the failure with in our health care system is truly a eye opener.

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