Teen Girl May Have Died From Chewing Too Much Gum
An investigation has revealed that a 19-year-old girl in the UK may have died as a result of chewing as many as 14 sticks of gum a day.
Samantha Jenkins of Llanelli, south Wales died in her mother's arms in June of 2011 while hospitalized following a violent seizure. Shortly after her death, doctors found large clumps of green gum in her stomach they say may have caused her body to be unable to absorb vital nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. The result was cerebal hypoxia, or swelling of the brain, which ultimately led to her death.
Jenkins' mother, Maria Morgan, believes her daughter was poisoned by aspartame and sorbitol, two artificial sweeteners common in sugar free gum. A postmortem examination of Jenkins determined that she was consuming around 16.8 grams of these sweeteners per day.
Dr. Paul Griffiths, the pathologist who performed the exam, told The Guardian that Jenkins' gum habit had the potential to lead to complications, but there are no other cases with which to compare this one. He's filed a report of his findings to a health-monitoring agency that will decide whether to investigate further.