Friday, April 13, 2012

The Sudden Loss of Yet Another

Spencer Melvin, age nine.  On all accounts, he was a great kid and will be sorely missed by his friends, his school and his teammates. Of course, his loss from Earth will be felt by his family, always.

                                    On Tuesday of this week, nine year old Spencer Melvin was at Rainbow Park, practicing for a baseball game in the Las Vegas area.   Like our Daniel, "Spence", as his family calls him, was not known to have any cardiac issues.   Spencer collapsed and experienced a cardiac arrest while heading to the field for his pre-game warm ups..  CPR was provided first by Spence's father and his older brother Samuel, and then, by local paramedics, but to no avail.  Spencer could not be resuscitated.  It is not yet known whether this cardiac arrest was due to cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, or simply a spontaneous heart rhythm disturbance.  An autopsy is pending.    Myocardial infarctions in children (a true heart attack in which the coronary arteries of the child are diseased and in which circulation to the heart is impeded, is rare).  However, a spontaneous heart rhythm disturbance, or arrhythmia, is not rare in children, and causes more and more sudden deaths, in the US and worldwide.  Spence's family also has an older son Samuel, and an older sister to Spence, named Skylar.
               Interestingly, this is the fourth sudden cardiac death occuring in the child of a registered nurse.  I was a critical care nurse and instructor, another woman I spoke with, who lost her daughter to sudden cardiac death at a ball game was an RN prof. of nursing,  a Chesterfield surgical RN lost her daughter to a sudden cardiac death after teaching aerobics,  and Lisa Melvin, Spence's Mom, is an obstetrics nurse.   Perhaps nurses have higher exposure to potential viruses which invade the cardiac conduction system.  This should be studied.

                                  It is bad enough not to have our Daniel, who was only 12 1/2 when this happened to him.  To see this happen again, and again, and again to boys and to girls who are children and teens, and who are also undiagnosed is deeply disturbing.    Can't we find a better way of diagnosing these issues, and saving more of these children ?  Can't we have more AEDs on ballfields ?   (Children with spontaneous arrhythmias and sudden death may not respond to CPR, but may have responded to a jolt delivered by an AED, if administered very quickly.

                                 If you are Spencer's family, then we are so terribly sorry for your loss.  Please take good care of yourselves, and following the funeral and your goodbyes, please have everyone in your family checked by your physician and or cardiologist for conduction disorders.     If we can ever be of any help to you at all, please contact us.

           This link provides information concerning activities which will occur this weekend. The Peccole Little League will be doing some fund raising activity for Spencer's Family.


        If you happen to see this post after this weekend, this is the address for donations. Spencer's family will need to pay medical bills, funeral expenses, and sometimes there are some expenses associated with an autopsy.   When Daniel passed suddenly, our own local medical examiner declined to perform one, and we had to obtain one at our own expense.

Any donations are greatly appreciated and will

immediately go to Spencer’s Family.

Check’s can be made payable to “Peccole Little League”

and please note on check it’s for SPENCER.

PO BOX 371352

LAS VEGAS, NV  89137 

If you would prefer to donate in another manner, donations for the Melvin Family can be made at any Chase Bank.  The account number for such is:   3011 6422427 
 "Spencer Melvin Memorial Trust"

This could be invaluable help for a family who I can attest will be enduring what may be the worst loss of their lifetimes.

 The musical artist to this piece is Jo Dee Messina

Spence as a younger child.

UPDATE: May 4, 2012 : Pathologists have stated that the cause of Spencer's sudden cardiac arrest and subsequent death was undetected hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This can be undetected following a virus. This is true of a percentage of children and teens who die of Sudden Arrhythmic Death syndrome. In our case however, Daniel did not have cardiomyopathy or any cardiac issue which could be demonstrated on autopsy. We send support and blessings to Spencer's family.

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