Think Like a Pancreas

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What is Dead In Bed Syndrome?

I am currently researching information regarding my daughter's death and the controversial Dead In Bed Syndrome.

What is Dead-In-Bed-Syndrome?

Dead In Bed Syndrome (DIB) is what was given as the cause of death for my daughter who died the day before her 13th birthday in bed. I knew deep down that this was going to come up and I was prepared to tackle it. After all, I had suffered seizures and hypoglycaemia hundreds of times and it hadn't happened to me!

'Dead In Bed Syndrome' is the name given to the death of a Type 1 Diabetic whilst sleeping. When the person's blood sugar falls below a certain level, this is called a hypo for short, or hypoglycaemia, being the medical term. When a diabetic is awake, hypos can normally give warning signs which alerts the diabetic to take glucose in some form. Whilst sleeping it is hard to detect those warning signs, especially if in a deep sleep and so this can lead to seizures (fits). Where the diagnosis of Dead In Bed Syndrome is concerned, it appears that the person has not had a seizure as the bed is normally found to be undisturbed with no signs of a struggle.

This is a very rare occurrence apparently. Why did it happen to my daughter then? Why hasn't it happened to me? Well, it has been said that the hypoglycaemia can cause a heart arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) and cause the heart to just stop beating. The frustrating thing for me and for all the other people who have been given this as a cause of death is that it is not certain what actually happened while their loved one was sleeping.

Typical Findings In Post-Mortem Reports

  1. The person is found dead in an undisturbed bed.
  2. The person was observed to be in good health before going to bed.
  3. It seems to happen most commonly in young people, especially those living alone.
If you look at typical findings at post-mortem, for example, when all circumstances are taken into consideration, you will find that the above three statements are very common. I would like to comment as follows:-

1. My daughter was found dead in her bed, undisturbed, just peaceful.
2. Apart from having Type 1 Diabetes, she was in good health and sporty with a slim build
3. She was young. She didn't live alone. We couldn't have saved her life on this occasion.

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I would urge anybody to get in touch me with if their child has been taken from them in this horrific way. I am starting a campaign to raise awareness.