Chewing gum may have played a role in 19-year-old UK woman’s death, report says

Samantha Jenkins was only 19-years-old when she died on June 3, 2011, from what is believed to be complications stemming from her excessive chewing gum habit.

An investigation into her death revealed that the teen, from Llanelli, south Wales consumed up to 14 sticks a day, according to The Guardian. Jenkins died in her mother’s arms days after she suffered a violent seizure that sent her to the hospital. Doctors said large wads of green chewing gum were found in her stomach and may have led to her body’s inability to absorb vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, according to the report.

Jenkins fell unconscious after constant seizures caused her brain to swell and doctors were unable to revive her.

Jenkin’s mother, Maria Morgan, 45, told investigators that she believes that her daughter died from being poisoned by sweeteners like aspartame and sorbitol that are found in gum, according to The Guardian.

Dr. Paul Griffins, a pathologist who performed a postmortem examination on Jenkins, also reportedly suggested the sweeteners contributed to her death, according to The Guardian. He added that 14 sticks of gum per day would mean that Jenkins was taking in about 16.8 grams of sweeteners which he says is “a fairly substantial amount.”

“I just want answers for my beautiful little girl so that we as a family can finally have closure and that maybe the public response could mean changes in awareness of these additives, warning on packets and educating families on the dangers of these additives,” Morgan said, according to the news report.

Griffins reportedly plans to file a report about Jenkins’ death with a health-monitoring agency to decide whether to further investigate.

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