My husband, Terry, and I received a telephone call from our son-in-law on Saturday 10 January 1998 at approximately 8am to say that our daughter, Lisa Jane Browne, a nurse, aged 27 years, was being taken to hospital. My son-in-law told me that he had received a telephone call from the hospital ward, where Lisa was due to be working the early shift, to ask if Lisa had overslept. Unable to rouse Lisa, my son-in-law called the paramedics who were unfortunately unable to resuscitate Lisa. When my husband and I arrived at the hospital we were told that Lisa had died.
A post mortem two days later revealed no obvious cause of death, and I was informed by the Pathologist that Lisa should still be alive. The Inquest hearing on 26th August 1998 gave an "Open Verdict" with the cause of death as "Unascertainable". The Pathologist said it was possible that Lisa suffered from an electrical abnormality in her heart, but these things cannot be detected after death. The Pathologist said he was aware that research was going on into these "sudden deaths", but he had no idea where the research was at. We were given no information either by the Coroner or the Pathologist as to "sudden young cardiac deaths" and we were certainly not told that the surviving family members should be screened.
Lisa had suffered with light headedness, chest pain and palpitations, but she was mis-diagnosed by her GP as being stressed and depressed.
Lisa was prescribed Dothiepen, an antidepressant which is contraindicated in people with Long QT Syndrome. Lisa was excessively tired for the last three years of her life. Lisa was not given an ECG, which could well have saved her life.
In September 1998 I contacted CRY and with their help my GP referred my husband and myself to St. George's Hospital, London for cardiac screening. My husband was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome. He has never suffered any symptoms. We were told that Lisa almost certainly died due to Long QT Syndrome, possibly when her alarm clock went off at 6am. My surviving daughter Rachel and her two children Jack and Adam have since been screened. Rachel had experienced blackouts, and we were obviously extremely concerned that she may have the Syndrome too. Rachel, Jack and Adam have all been diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome.
Rachel has had an ICD fitted, and Jack and Adam are on betablocker medication. Following the diagnosis of Terry, Rachel, Jack and Adam we decided to have Lisa's post mortem tissue genetically tested.
The results confirmed that she did die from Long QT Syndrome. In light of this new evidence we approached the Coroner to ask if Lisa's Inquest could be re-opened. This procedure involved getting the permission of the Attorney General and then having the case heard in the High Court.
On 28 April 2006 Lisa's Inquest was finally re-opened and after hearing more detailed evidence than at the first Inquest Lisa's death has now been recorded as:-
1a. Acute Left Ventricular Failure
1b. Long QT Syndrome (due to Subtype LQT2 Gene).
The verdict was that Lisa died from Natural Causes.
We now have closure following Lisa's death. Not a day will go by that we will ever forget the happy memories that we have of Lisa. Although her life was so tragically cut short, we are so proud to have had her for 27 years. May she rest in peace.