William Kyle Brown died suddenly on 12 March, 2011, a Coroner’s Jury heard during a recent inquest. After the circumstances were explained and the pathologist’s report reviewed, the jury determined that Mr. Brown died of natural causes.
In statements read by Coroner Eileen Nervik, he was identified as a 64-year-old American citizen who was employed as administrator at Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital. His colleagues described him as a hard worker who treated everyone with equal respect. A universal donor, he readily donated blood whenever needed.
On Saturday, 12 March, around 3.10pm he called his girlfriend from his home and said he was experiencing abdomen and lower chest pain. She advised him to put aspirin under his tongue and she would come over. She arrived about 20 minutes later and took him to Chrissie Tomlinson.
He walked from her car to the emergency treatment room unassisted. Once there, he got respite from his symptoms for a while. But then his condition continued to deteriorate and he became unresponsive to treatment. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation efforts were continued for about one to one and a half hours, after which he was pronounced dead.
Police officers who investigated the matter, as they do any sudden death, learned that Mr. Brown had undergone a detailed medical examination, including coronary angiography and a stress test, about a year and a half previously and was found to be apparently healthy.
Dr. Sarath de Alwis, who worked with Mr. Brown, said he had never complained of chest pain before. He worked day or night as needed and was always on call. About a week before he died, the doctor reported, Mr. Brown carried three bags of cement for a lady, one at a time.
According to background information in the autopsy report submitted by Dr. Shravana Jyoti, Mr. Brown had been undergoing constant stress about his financial matters during the past several years. There was no significant history suggestive of underlying medical conditions and Mr. Brown was not on any treatment. He was 6 feet tall and weighed 202 pounds.
The pathologist confirmed that the physical examination showed no evidence of trauma, violence or fracture. Tests for recreational drugs and alcohol were negative.
He cited as cause of death the rupture of the right common iliac artery, which is in the abdomen.
He subsequently explained that the rupture resulted in an intra-abdominal haemorrhage. Further studies indicated the artery showed myxomatous degeneration, which is the condition developing in the blood vessel walls as the age progresses and this process can weaken the vessel wall.
The pathologist said Mr. Brown had signs of hypertension, as evidenced by an enlarged heart, which weighed 610 grams (normal expected 350 grams) with left ventricular hypertrophy and moderate atherosclerosis. He also had few areas of coronary artery atheromatous deposition.
Ruptures of blood vessels under uncontrolled hypertension are usually seen in the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel carrying the blood away from the heart to the tissues. Mr. Jyoti said rupture of other blood vessels like the common iliac artery (as happened in this case) and renal vessels are uncommon but are still reported, although rarely.