One of the most recent studies, conducted by the pediatric chair for Wayne State University and DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, transposes headlines that scream Monster Energy Drink Deaths and Hospitalizations from the sensational to the scientific, with suggestions that energy drinks have the potential to be dangerous, and even deadly, highlighting nearly 5,000 incident reports to emergency rooms - and those are just the incidents that are reported.
The family of the late Anais Fournier knows the potential for danger all too well: the Maryland teen suffered a fatal heart attack after consuming two Monster energy drinks within a 24-hour period. The 14-year-old was simply sitting at home watching television with her family, when she collapsed and could not be revived.
Heather Felts is another victim of Monster drink contents. Heather’s late husband, Shane, died after consuming Monster energy drinks, and thus is the real victim. But his surviving spouse is a victim too, as she must go through life without her husband.
As reported by KSHB 41 Kansas City (7/9/14), Heather enjoyed a leisurely dinner with her husband on June 24, 2012. She could not know that it would be the last time she would speak to her husband and see him alive after 15 years of marriage.
“About 2:00 or 2:30 [am], I heard a thump,” she remembered, to reporters from KSHB. “He was on the floor in the bathroom.”
She and her two boys rushed him to the hospital.
“It’s just like the movies; a doctor kneels down in the front of you and says ‘I’m sorry, we did everything we could but he’s gone,’” she said.
Felts filed a lawsuit in August of last year, alleging Monster drink contents contributed to the wrongful death of her husband (Felts v. Monster Beverage Corporation et al, Case No. 4:2014cv00758, filed August 22, 2014 at Missouri Western District Court).
When referencing Monster caffeine levels, KSHB noted in its report that two 24-ounce Monster Energy Drink cans contain about as much caffeine as 14 cans of Coca-Cola.
The reference to Coca-Cola is an interesting one, given that late last year, Coca-Cola acquired a roughly 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage Corp. for $2.15 billion, transferring its worldwide energy drink business to the energy giant in exchange for Monster’s non-energy business and other considerations.
Energy drinks escape the regulation and scrutiny normally associated with foods and other consumable products, given that energy drinks are classed as dietary supplements and, thus, are much more loosely regulated. Labels are required to include ingredients but not amounts or levels. Last summer, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for new warning labels. The CSPI wants the drinks to warn about heart attacks, convulsion and other possible side effects related to Monster Energy Drink injury, as well as the products of other manufacturers.
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The Morris lawsuit alleges Monster “failed to warn consumers of the true risks, scope and severity of potential side effects of the Monster drinks that Alex Morris consumed such as increased risk of stroke, blood clots, heart attack and cardiac arrhythmia.”
It’s the second Monster drink contents case to go to trial, and all eyes will be watching when it kicks off April 27. Monster Beverage Corp. settled a previous case during trial. In all cases, the defendant has denied any wrongdoing.