Screening hope

Margo Wright raised £5,500 to bring the CRY mobile cardiac screening equipment and a specialist medical team to Netherfields Community Centre in Beckfield in February 2004.

Screening started at 9.30am and went on all through the day. Forty Young people were signed up for the screening

Margo’s 32 year old daughter was foumargo_screeningnd dead at the bottom of the stairs, the inquest gave an open verdict, Margo concluded her daughter had died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. This condition often brought on by an abnormal heart rhythm.

Since her daughters death Margo has raised thousands of pounds for the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young, (issue 16))

The Middlesbrough mum has welcomed moves to provide automatic heart screening for youngsters living with a family history of the condition.

Grandmother Margo Wright spoke ahead of tomorrow’s debate on Stockton South MP Dari Taylor’s Private Member’s Bill calling for guaranteed screening for youngsters at risk of sudden cardiac death syndrome.

Up to eight fit young people die every week in Britain from undiscovered heart diseases.

Early warning symptoms, such as fainting or palpitations, are often dismissed, even by doctors, as fatigue, stress or asthma.

Mandi BlakeMrs Wright, from Thorntree, believes her daughter, mum-of-two Mandi Blake, 32, died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) in November 2001, when she was found dead at her home.

Mrs Wright said: “It is a terrible thing when it happens because you do not have a chance to say goodbye and then you live in terror it could happen again.

“With automatic screening you can put your mind at rest or get early treatment if something is detected.

“I thought this just happened to sports people, but it is fit and healthy young people this is affecting – Mandi had nothing wrong with her.”

Mrs Taylor’s Bill aims to establish an automatic right to tests for those at high risk and a structure for screening.

If it becomes law the bill will create a legal requirement for detailed medical histories of members of families at risk plus expert interpretation of test results.

In addition Mrs Taylor hopes the move will make doctors more aware of the condition and its warning signs. The MP first became aware of the dangers following the sudden deaths of two young Teesside men, Ian Bowen, 19, and Levon Morland, 22.

Mrs Taylor said: “In the world of heart and cardiac problems, conditions in the over 50s and 60s are taken very seriously, but there is a lack of awareness of the problem for people under 35.

“You hear about athletic young people and their families find it unacceptable that their children should have displayed symptoms but the medical profession said it was not serious.”

But for Billingham nurse Pauline Hartley, the Bill does not go far enough.

In September 2002, Mrs Hartley’s son Anthony Iverson, 14, was found dead in bed.

He was clinging to the telephone after trying to call his mum who now believes he was killed by SADS.

She said: “I think automatic screening should be part of the medical process, for every child like immunisation, because in some cases one simple pill could keep people alive.

“Automatic screening for children at the immunisation stage would put people’s minds at rest and save lives.”

Support for the Bill has come from both MPs and sports personalities including Steve Redgrave and Ian Botham.

Bosses at the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) are also pushing for the bill to go ahead.