EL CAJON, Calif., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD today announced the results of his research into the "series" of veterans' deaths acknowledged by the Surgeon General of the Army.
Upon reading the May 24, 2008, Charleston (WV) Gazette article "Vets taking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder drugs die in sleep," Baughman began to investigate why these reported deaths were "different." And, why they were likely, the "tip of an iceberg."
Andrew White, Eric Layne, Nicholas Endicott and Derek Johnson were four West Virginia veterans who died in their sleep in early 2008. Baughman's research suggests that they did not commit suicide and did not overdose as suggested by the military. All were diagnosed with PTSD. All seemed "normal" when they went to bed. And, all were on Klonopin (a benzodiazepine), Paxil (an SSRI antidepressant) and Seroquel (an antipsychotic).
On January 15, 2009, the New England Journal of Medicine (Ray et al), reported that antipsychotics double the risk of sudden cardiac death.
On February 7, 2008, Surgeon General Eric B. Schoomaker, said there has been "a series of deaths in Warrior Training Units" -- "often as a consequence of the use of multiple prescription and nonprescription medicines and alcohol ... we all saw the unfortunate death of Heath Ledger, the 'Brokeback Mountain' star, who died from an accidental overdose."
But Ledger was not on any heart-toxic medication. When found, his pulse and respirations were intact! When found, none of the veterans were breathing or had pulse. There's, most likely, were sudden cardiac deaths!
Sudden cardiac death is an unexpected death due to cardiac causes occurring in a short time period (generally within 1 h of symptom onset) in a person with known or unknown cardiac disease in whom no previously diagnosed fatal condition is apparent. (Medscape e-Medicine 7/17/06)
As of April 16, 2009, veteran's wife, Diane Vande Burgt, had Googled 19 "dead in bed," 36 "dead in barracks," or "... room," and 19 "under investigation." Removing reported "suicides" shortened our original list by 15 names leaving a total of 74 probable sudden cardiac deaths - most in soldiers or veterans in their 20's. An article from the AP, San Antonio, 4/17/09, reported "The deaths of two soldiers are being investigated ... both men apparently died in their sleep."
It was reported in June, 2008, that 89% of veterans with PTSD are given antidepressants and 34% antipsychotics (Mohamed & Rosenheck, June 2008). A third, then, are exposed to the additive potential of both to cause sudden cardiac death. (Sicouri & Antzelevitch, 2008)
On April 13, 2009, Baughman wrote the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army: "the Surgeon General said there has been 'a series, a sequence of deaths' Has the study of these deaths been published?
On April 17, 2009, the response came: "The assessment is still pending and has not been released yet."
There being no such thing as an essential psychiatric drug, I call upon the military for an immediate embargo of all antipsychotics and antidepressants until there has been a complete, wholly public, clarification of the extent and causes of this epidemic of probable sudden cardiac deaths.
For more information, please email Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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