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My 31 yr old son passed away in his sleep on Jan. 11, 2011. Not yet 6 weeks ago. I very much believe there is mental illness. I have suffered with it for many years. I am Bipolar II, have had extreme anxiety for yrs., some OCD, PTSD even before this with losing my child. This is not about me per say though. This is to hopefully help and warn others. I do not even know what diagnosis Todd had, but his mental illness turned into something like I have never experienced or seen before. 5 hospitalizations in the last yr. of his life. So many meds...too damn many. Klonepin, Seroquel, Trazodone, Celexa, Depakote, Lithium, Haldol, Prozac, Effexor XR, Tegretol, Lamictal, Buspar, and Risperdal. Some of these he tried, did not tolerate well and came off of them rather quickly...Lithium, Haldol, Prozac, Effexor XR, Risperdal. But still a lot of trial and error. The main culprits were Depakote and Seroquel. Todd this time last year weighed 212 lbs. Which was his normal weight. When I had to have my son autopsied he weighed 308 lbs. And he worked to try to lose this weight. Once on the Depakote the pounds packed on him fast. He had been on 300 mg. of Seroquel since 2004 and maintained his proper weight. But, when the PD's tripled his dosage of the Seroquel, compounded with the Depakote, he swelled up something awful. And the bigger he got, he developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol and his asthma that he outgrew as a child, came back with a vengence.

My son passed away from bronchial pneumonia and from substance use of these drugs. It is stated in his autopsy report. According to the autopsy he was morbidly obese and many of his organs were effected. His liver was 3 times the normal size of what it should have been, his heart was enlarged and his left ventricle to his heart was 50% blocked and his lungs well they speak for themselves due to the pneumonia. The thing is so many hospitals, PD's, counselors, specialists etc. were involved in all this. I was taking him to specialists due to his health issues....urologist, gastro, went through a sleep study. That is what we had time to cover before my son died. No one paid any attention to what my son nor me were saying. We kept saying the same things over and over again. The massive weight gain, his lungs always congested and wheezing so bad you could hear it across a room. I even had to rush him to the ER several times for breathing treatments. He was in the psychiatric unit of a hospital from Dec. 27, 2010 to Jan. 4, 2011. And he dies one week later from bronchial pneumonia? Something that was highly treatable. And I do know that an enlarged heart can be detected on a chest xray. He had a number of xrays. I do have a meeting with the medical examiner that did the autopsy on March 1. I understand certain things about his autopsy. What I could not understand, I have researched online. But, I want the autopsy broke down to me. They did not find anything in his toxicology report. No street drugs nor alcohol. I knew they would not. There was problems with that years ago, but that was years ago. This is now.

Todd was a healthy young man one year ago. He though went into a deep depression and attempted suicide about 3 times in the last year. He would do so by trying to slit his wrists. And several times, he just about succeeded in these attempts. But Todd would tell me though, that he didn't want to die. He just wanted to make the pain go away. You had to know my son, to believe just that. This was a young man that as Todd called it had lost his "joy". I have 2 other children. But, Todd was my child that could make you laugh, make you smile, had a kind heart for everyone and loved unconditionally. This is what I have lost. No one could ever decide what diagnosis to give Todd. We have heard mood disorder, personality disorder, schizo-effective disorder etc. I believe he was bipolar and it had turned into being schizophrenic. I watched my son talk to things not there and see things not there too many times this past year. And Todd called his meds "dummy dope''. It took him from being a functioning person, into a shell of the person he once was. And his OCD was off the hook as well. None of the PD's nor counselors quite knew how to deal with that one. Todd would spend hours in the bathroom washing his face, brushing his teeth and hands...multiple times a day.

I just say this. I know for a fact too many meds killed my son. Sure it was also bronchial pneumonia. But, his asthma came back due to the massive weight gain from these meds. No wonder his organs were messed up as well. On a dozen or more psychiatric meds in the past year. Plus, he had to try about 3 blood pressure meds before they found one that would bring down his bp. He was on high cholesterol meds as well. And being prescribed several inhalers. Until the shrinks, hospitals, specialists etc., my son was on Celexa and low dosage of Seroquel. Sure he crashed into a terrible depression. But, he could never come out of it because he was on too many damn meds. He was like a walking zombie on all this junk. I once allowed shrinks to overmedicate me. I came out of that much more better off than my son. I survived it. And I never allowed another doctor to ever overmedicate me again. I take what I have to. To keep my mental illness as much in balance as possible. I was having fits over these meds my son was on. And I will continue the fight over this. It will never bring my son back to me. Not only was this my child, he was my very best friend.

Now, my son is just another statistic to the mental and medical health field. And that is what is wrong with our healthcare in this country. But, this mother is not going to go away. Just my testimony I guess and maybe someone will get something out of this tragic story.

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I am deeply sorry for your loss. I have lost so many friends and family to substance abuse and MI I can't even remember some of thier names. I am aware that your son was over medicated which is not the same. I feel a deep pain and regret always, but when I reach out for help and talk to people who have experienced the same thing it does get better. Thank you for your post, it is a cautionary story. We should all be on the lookout for docs who over medicate. My heart goes out to you and you're family.

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Kay, I am very sorry that you lost your son. Having a child die so young is the worst thing that can happen to a parent. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Part of what we talk about here is the proper use of meds. Working closely with qualified medical professionals to strike a balance. Staying fit with exercise and good nutrition. Getting regular blood tests so you know how your liver is doing, and your lithium level and all of that.

I'm sorry his doctors fell down on the job. It sounds like he wasn't getting very good care. Mental illness can be such a nightmare when it's treated improperly.

olga

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I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your son and his tragic, early death. He sounds like he was a wonderful person, full if joy and life.

I am also deeply sorry that your son and family did not get the kind of medical care that you deserved and that hoepfully would have prolonged his life and led to some remission for him. It is a very sad sorry, hopefully we can continue to be here for you thorough your loss if support in the mental health realm is needed for you.

sincerely,

Anna

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Please accept my condolences for the preventable and tragic death of Todd. It is a horror that there was no coordination of care. The combination of so many meds, plus the inhalers wrecked havoc. The subject of a lack of coordination of psychiatric care with general internal medicine is ridculous. The fact that he was in a psychiatric hospital and they did not diagnose or treat his pneumonia is terrible, it is malpractice. Nothing will bring back your loving son. Thank you for warning others and please accept my heartfelt condolences. I would pursue legal action. It will not bring your son back but a verdict in your favor might change community awareness, standards of practice, and a general understanding.

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Generally when someone makes three suicide attempts a within the span of a year doctors will go heavy on the meds. His chances of passing away at his own hand were much greater than the chances of him passing away due to the side effects of the medications.

I've been on over 40 meds, gained over 100 pounds, and over the past few years have finally been feeling pretty much OK for the first time since I was a kid. Doctors are not idiots. They were trying to save his life.

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And several times, he just about succeeded in these attempts. But Todd would tell me though, that he didn't want to die. He just wanted to make the pain go away.

I am so sorry for your loss. He was way too young.....but I wish I could tell him that he wasn't alone; there is AT LEAST one person who knows that feeling. I'm just sorry I can't help.

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