Woman solves the 14-year-old mystery of her dad’s sudden and tragic death
When Liz Bowers-Keable was just six-years-old, her father died.
Paul Bowers was only 34 when he passed away, due to what doctors later ruled "natural causes." He had been separated from Liz's mother for a year, and was at his new girlfriend's house, when all of a sudden he apparently made a strange "snoring" sound and collapsed in front of her. He was dead moments later, before the paramedics could resuscitate him. The date was September 14, 2003.
For the children who he left behind to grieve, his passing was as inexplicable as it was tragic. Paul was young, healthy and outgoing. For 14 years his children (and ex wife Fiona) were left without closure. Liz and her brother Johno grew up wondering just what had happened to their kindly dad; the man who lingered in their house in old photographs.
Last year, they finally found out.
"After the funeral and the inquest, Mum felt something wasn’t right," Liz stated in a recent interview. "Because he was so young, fit and healthy it didn’t seem normal for him to have dropped dead like that. As a child, I didn’t really understand, but as I got older I wanted answers too. I wanted to know how my dad died. We had waited so long to know what really happened to him, it was torturous for me and my brother. But now we can finally let him rest in peace, knowing what really happened to him."
The much-coveted explanation came after Liz's grandmother, Jo Young, read an article about the cardiovascular disease charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), and wondered if a cardiac arrest might have been the cause of her son's sudden demise. After she talked to Liz about the article, she decided to book herself and her brother in for tests to determine whether they were susceptible to a sudden heart failure.
What they learned shocked them.
Doctors discovered that Liz and her brother suffered from Brugada syndrome: a rare heart condition in which electrical signals passing through the heart disrupt the usual rhythm of the organ. The rare condition can often prove fatal, and can affect people of any age. What's more is that Brugada syndrome is typically caused by a faulty gene; which means that Liz and Johno inherited it from their father. This was almost certainly what killed Paul Bowers all those years ago.
"Not only was I diagnosed with the heart condition myself, but for the first time in 14 years we found out how my dad died. They had to stop the test halfway through because my heart reacted so strongly to it," she stated. "Then, with my mum by my side, it was confirmed I had Brugada Syndrome and the doctor said it was likely that my dad died of it too as he passed so suddenly. The doctors said there was so much evidence that it was dad who was the carrier, so they didn’t need to test mum."
Liz has now been advised to avoid stimuli which might trigger her irregular heartbeat, such as a high temperature, excessive alcohol consumption, dehydration and certain medication.
She has also been granted a 24-hour ECG monitor by CRY, which she can use to check her heart's rhythm. Liz has also stated that she intends to have a implanted cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to treat irregular heartbeats. Although she's been diagnosed with something potentially life-threatening, Liz now has closure she's been missing for most of her life.