Letter 6: Silent Killer
We got copies of all your medical records from all your providers going back 10
years. We gave all of them to the Medical Examiner. We made sure he knew the
details of every medication you had been taking.
It took the state of Maryland four and a half months to find out and inform us that
you had died of a microscopic heart attack that had occurred several days before
your death. Your veins and arteries were free of disease and plaque; there were no
other heart abnormalities, and all of your other organs looked healthy. They
should have – you had had such healthy eating and exercise habits. In spite of the detailed health history he had for you, the medical examiner refused to look for any root causes for the heart attack. Based on your symptoms and the information from the Yaz label (which aligned with an offhand remark you made months earlier about the results of your potassium test), we believe that high levels of potassium were involved, but there is no way to prove it. Apparently, at the moment of death, a metabolic panel becomes completely unreliable.
The medical examiner spoke with me and Dad at length. He said that the death had to be declared natural, since the only drug you had taken was an FDA- approved medicine. He told me that one in 100,000 people die of heart attacks for no reason at all and that this was probably what happened to you, Annie. He admitted that if Yaz was the culprit, there was no way on the CDC forms to list prescribed medications taken properly.
Yaz was your silent killer. No one is allowed to point the finger at prescribed drugs and it seems that no politician or medical official has any intention of permitting that.
Shortly after your death, when we tried to inform co-workers and people in our community, we were astounded by the number of instances of harm from Yaz that we found among colleagues and acquaintances. But still, more than five years later, Yaz and other birth control pills made with the same dangerous synthetic hormone, drospirenone, are still widely used.
Dad and I estimate that given the number of drospirenone birth control pills sold each year, thousands of young women worldwide either die or are irrevocably harmed each year from these birth pills.
Our next step: is there anything we can do to keep other young women like you from being killed this way?