The lawsuit states that the teenager went into cardiac arrest after drinking two, 24-ounce cans of Monster during one 24-hour period. But a lawyer for the beverage company tells the AP that physicians hired to review the medical records say the young woman died of natural causes brought on by pre-existing heart conditions, and that the caffeine toxicity claim on the autopsy was based on statements made by the girl’s mother.
The official cause of death listed on the autopsy is “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity complicating mitral valve regurgitation in the setting of Ehler’s-Danlos syndrome,” which would seem to indicate that the combination of caffeine and the heart condition resulted in death. When reached by the AP, the medical examiner’s could not immediately confirm whether a blood test had been performed to check for caffeine levels.
An attorney for the girl’s mother brushed off concerns about a possible lack of a blood test, saying that the case will ultimately be decided by a jury, “Not doctors paid by billion-dollar corporations to attend press conferences.”
The lawsuit has brought concerns about energy drinks into the public forum, as documents revealed that the Food & Drug Administration has received dozens of adverse incident reports about Monster alone, with five of those involving deaths.
The makers of Monster and other energy drink makers have maintained that their products are safe and contain less caffeine than some coffee drinks you’d get at Starbucks. However, there are no FDA standards for legal or safe caffeine levels in these beverages.