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From the Heart
February 26, 2020

Bad Gene Hunting—Sudden Unexplained Death and Familial Long QT Syndrome

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2Now with Primary Care Clinical Unit, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
JAMA Cardiol. 2020;5(4):375-376. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2020.0039

One night 21 years ago, while sleeping in his bed, my brother suddenly died. He was 33 years old and left behind his wife and 3 young sons. His death was totally unexpected, a coroner’s case.

It was early spring, and the daphne was out at the front door wafting its greetings when we arrived from an early flight. My brother was upstairs in bed in his pajamas. He was still there in the afternoon when the police arrived to take him away. We stepped aside, and they went into his bedroom. They put him into a large, dark bag, zipped the bag closed, and carried him down the stairs, out the front door, and away. Several days later, his body was returned to us in a shiny, wooden, silk-lined coffin, wearing his suit. He did not look at all comfortable. He was waxen and stiff, with his chin pulled in and serious. The autopsy had been unenlightening.

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