Rare syndrome led to Exmouth woman’s death

A 33-year-old Exmouth legal secretary died because of bleeding of a major artery caused by a chronic condition.

At an inquest at county hall the coroner ruled that Elizabeth Faith Heal died following a ‘significant haemorrhage at the route of the aorta’ – the largest artery in the body – on June 13.

Miss Heal had suffered from Turner’s syndrome, a condition that affects the chromosomes which, in women, can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, hearing difficulties and diabetes.

And now her family has allowed her body to be used to help find new treatments and cures for the condition.

Coroner Elizabeth Earland said that up to ten days before her death Miss Heal had suffered coughing and ‘shooting pains’ in her throat.

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The inquest heard that on the evening of June 13, 2011, Ms Heal was at home when, just after 10pm, she called out to her partner and collapsed.

Ambulance crews attempted to resuscitate her on the way to Wonford hospital where she was pronounced dead.

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Dr Earland said that ‘aortic dissection’ was a ‘well-known complication’ associated with Turners’ and added: “Women with Turner’s Syndrome are at three times’ higher risk than a normal member of the population.

“There is a very high risk of having an event like this because of an underlying condition.”

She praised the family for allowing Ms Heal’s body to be used in research directed by heart expert Dr Mary Sheppard.

Dr Earland ruled death by natural causes and added: “What is important is that doctors were called and she was not ignored.

“Sadly, diagnosis was not made.”

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