In an alarming case out of New York, the family of a 33-year-old man who died during a basketball game after drinking Red Bull has filed a wrongful death suit against the company. The lawsuit, believed to be the first wrongful death case filed against Red Bull, says that the company’s drink is responsible for Cory Terry’s heart attack and untimely demise.
The family is asking for $85 million from the company, claiming that the way Red Bull manufactures the drink by adding extra stimulants makes it far more dangerous than consumers realize. The family’s lawyer notes that these stimulants make the energy drink far more dangerous than other caffeine-containing beverages such as coffee.
Prior to his death Terry, who has a young son, worked as a construction worker and was a healthy, active nonsmoker. Sadly, Terry was also a regular consumer of Red Bull energy drinks according to his grandmother. Those who knew Terry well say that he drank Red Bulls frequently because he enjoyed the energy boost that they provided.
Sadly, two years ago, Terry was playing a game of basketball with friends at a middle school located near his house when he gulped down a can of Red Bull. Friends say that very soon thereafter he complained of being lightheaded and collapsed. A coroner found that Terry died of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a complicated way of saying his heart stopped. The coroner’s report noted Terry’s consumption of Red Bull prior to the heart attack, though failed to say one way or another what the cause of the heart attack was.
In the lawsuit, nine other Red Bull-related fatalities are mentioned as well as several studies which have found that the drink poses potentially serious health hazards to consumers, especially young people and those who regularly exercise. The lawsuit also notes that the FDA has confirmed in 2009 that 18 deaths were suspected of being linked to energy drinks and 13,000 emergency room visits occur every year due to consumption of the caffeine-laden beverages.
Finally, the lawsuit notes that Red Bull’s slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings,” clearly targets young people and athletes, two groups most likely to be injured by the high amounts of caffeine and taurine contained in the drinks. Given the recent negative attention surrounding Monster, Rockstar and now Red Bull energy drinks it seems clear that the FDA needs to weigh in on the matter. If it is true that the highly caffeinated beverages are endangering the welfare of consumers then we can only hope that government regulators step in and protect others from similar harm.
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