Coroner says girl died of heart condition, not choking on Great America's Raging Bull

Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 9:56 AM | Contributed by redman822

An 11-year-old girl died of an irregular heartbeat last spring after riding a Six Flags Great America roller coaster, a Lake County coroner's jury ruled Thursday. Medical records showed Erica Emmons had an enlarged heart that likely developed from a pair of concussions she suffered in 1999, the jury was told.

Read more from The Daily Herald.

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Monday, December 8, 2003 9:59 AM
Jeff's avatar Wow... you know in some ways the little girl's death is even more tragic in this sense. It's just heartbreaking to hear about kids who die of heart conditions because you never think that they could possibly have them. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Monday, December 8, 2003 10:02 AM
I hate hearing about these things. It does remind us all though that it is important to routinely visit our doctors and make sure our children do the same.
Monday, December 8, 2003 10:23 AM
Olsor's avatar The quote from SFGAm's spokeswoman seems a tad inappropriate. I realize the decision of the coroner's jury pretty thoroughly exonerates the park of any negligence, but I don't think there's anything to be "pleased" about in light of a park patron's death. Bad choice of words.
Monday, December 8, 2003 10:36 AM
They expressed sympathy for the family and said they were pleased with the DECISION. There is nothing wrong with that.
Monday, December 8, 2003 12:40 PM
Olsor's avatar I know they were pleased with the decision. It's still a poor choice of words. Saying that the company hopes the decision brings closure to the incident is more tactful. Saying that they're "pleased" with the decision suggests that they would not have been pleased had the jury decided differently - that the girl died from choking. Great America never claimed responsibility for the girl's death in the first place, so the decision should do nothing, in their eyes, but bring closure.

It's semantics, but semantics are important in PR.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003 3:12 PM
CPLady's avatar I know a teenager who was very active...on the high school swim team and basketball team. He'd had a full physical examination two weeks prior to collapsing in the locker room during halftime at the basketball game. He was dead within minutes and the cause was heart failure. He was one of three teen athletes who died of the same condition that night, another from Detroit and one from NJ.

The problem is most children and young people are not screened for heart problems. A physical exam doesn't include tests that would identify one. Unless there is a specific reason for the expensive tests, most insurance companies wouldn't even pay for them. So how would a parent know?

Tuesday, December 9, 2003 3:17 PM
Jeff's avatar You're right about that. Same thing happened to a kid in my high school. I think everyone has a story like that, and it's kind of scary. It just seems most heartbreaking when it's young people.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003 10:10 AM
Jeff's avatar Wouldn't you know it... I was searching for news and came across this as well. So very sad.
Friday, December 12, 2003 11:00 PM
I was there when it happened and was on the news that day and I was shocked.Its amazing how some people react. The reporters all want to sensationalize the story by saying a ride kills someone. Without all the facts they find fault with the park and the rides to get people to tune in at the cost of the truth or the whole story.It was a terrible tragedy.But no one could say why at the time that little girl died and to see someone who you had seen minutes ago be carried out like that is very upsetting.If the park was to blame they should be held responsible but most parks do everything they can to be as safe as they can be.Lets not jump to conclusions and rumors before we know what happened in any situation like this in the future.

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