At Obama HQ 29 year olds just collapse and die - pathetic reporting of Alex Okrent's death MEDIA CRIT
At Obama campaign headquarters apparently healthy vigorous 29 year olds just collapse and die. Colleagues shed a tear and Barrack sends condolences, and so does Mitt Romney. And no one deigns to ask why, or what happened.
The police were not even called in the case of Okrent because there was "nothing suspicious," one report said.
In the real world it is quite extraordinary for a 29 year old to just collapse and die, especially an apparently vigorous and healthy one. (odds are 2.86/100,000 see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19587604)
Yet not one report in the media of the death Friday morning July 13 of Obama campaign worker Alex Okrent even hints at any cause of death at all.
"He was taken ill"
They simply describe him as having "taken ill" or having "collapsed" at the Obama campaign offices in downtown Chicago around 9:30am, being given emergency treatment there by medics, then taken to nearby Northwestern Hospital where he was "pronounced dead."
Most of the reports treat the cause of such an extraordinary death as not even worth inquiring about. Just one report we found said efforts at the hospital to establish cause of death were "inconclusive."
That seems darned suspicious in itself.
Almost all natural sudden deaths are heart related.
Allen Burke, UMd: "The overall most common cause of sudden cardiac death in the 20-40 year-old age range is cardiomyopathy (heart muscle deterioration), slightly higher than coronary atherosclerosis (blockage of arteries by interior plaque buildup.")
The diagnosis is readily made and conclusive.
Another cause could be arrhythmia (no electrical signal to the heart muscle), but sudden death of that kind is most unusual in apparently vigorous and healthy people of 29.
The usual cause of unusual arryhthmia deaths in people as young as Okrent is genetic abnormalities that alter a protein called SCN5A that is involved in generation of electrical activity for the heart muscle. That altered protein can bring on heart stoppages of varying duration - usually when the victim is asleep, but occasionally when awake.
Some personal experience with arryhthmia
I know a bit about this because I studied up on it after it happened to me 4 years ago at age 68. A pacemaker now keeps me alive - 30% of my heart beats typically are pacemaker-generated thanks to an active transponder style longlife battery under the skin near my collarbone.
Joe Brimmeier, then CEO at the Penn Pike once said he had asked his tekkies (TransCore) to work on "switching off that darned thing when you go under one of our toll gantries." He was joking, I think. But I digress...
Forensic exams can check the SCN5A protein to see if it was genetic arrhythmia in Okrent.
When it comes to Team Obama, it seems, most reporters just suspend their normal curiosity and accept the assurances: Normal Death, Nothing Suspicious.
At least initially.
But we'll predict one or two will break from the pack.
It's potentially too big a story.