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How did can of whipped cream kill French model?

How did can of whipped cream kill French model?

Commotio Cordis: A leading cause of death in young people.

Among the trending news items this week is the tale of a freak accident that took the life of a French model and aspiring social media star.

From the Daily Mail:

A French fitness blogger has been killed by an exploding whipped cream dispenser which hit her in the chest, giving her a heart attack.

Rebecca Burger’s family announced her death on social media, where she has amassed a following of more than 200,000 with her fitness focused posts.

They said the 33-year-old died as the result of a ‘domestic accident’ at her home in eastern France, and later shared a photograph of the dispenser which killed her.

In their post, the family explained how it exploded and flying parts of it hit the young model’s thorax.

The cause of Burger’s death is commotio cordis, which occurs when a blunt object strikes the chest and causes cardiac arrest. Sadly, it is a leading cause of death in young people.

Relatively recent data from the registry of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation show that commotio cordis is one of the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, exceeded only by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and congenital cornoary artery abnormalities.

Commotio cordis typically involves young, predominantly male, athletes in whom a sudden, blunt, nonpenetrating and innocuous-appearing trauma to the anterior chest results in cardiac arrest and sudden death from ventricular fibrillation. The rate of successful resuscitation remains relatively low but is improving slowly.

Although commotio cordis usually involves impact from a baseball, it has also been reported during hockey, softball, lacrosse, karate, and other sports activities in which a relatively hard and compact projectile or bodily contact caused impact to the person’s precordium. While only 216 instances have been reported to the US Commotio Cordis Registry (as of 2012), this is probably a considerable underestimation of its true incidence since this entity still goes unrecognized in many instances and continues to be underreported.

Apparently, it had been known for some time that the whipped cream dispenser was a safety hazard.

…Consumer magazine 60 Million Consumers reported that the victim was hit violently in the chest by the exploding canister, and said that led to a heart attack. The magazine said it had been warning for years of such risks after dozens of incidents, but this was apparently the first death reported.

The manufacturer of the kitchen product, Ard’time, said the product has not been on the market since a “first incident implicating a siphon” in February 2013. Products were withdrawn from the market and destroyed, a company statement said, and other efforts made to alert consumers.

“Unfortunately, there are still lots of siphons of all brands that remain potentially dangerous as time passes,” the company said.

The consumer magazine said that incidents have been occurring since at least 2010. “We are up to 60 accidents” that have been reported, said the deputy editor of 60 Million Consumers.

“It is, to our knowledge, the first time there has been a death from such an explosion. … We knew it would happen one day,” Benjamin Douriez said by telephone.

There had been other, serious incidents prior to this fatality:

In 2013, one victim of an exploding cream dispenser told RTL radio: “I had six broken ribs, and my sternum was broken.

“At the hospital, I was told that if the shock and blast had been facing the heart, I would be dead now.”

…At least one manufacturer issued a product recall – but a year after that recall, only 25,000 were returned out of 160,000 sold, Le Parisien reported.

According to reports in France, the victim’s brother has announced that the family will sue the company that made the dispenser.


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I’ve been knocked out only twice in my lifetime and the first time was in a Little League game where I was hit in the chest by a pitch (the pitcher was a 12-year-old, 6’2″ 200 lb MAN – unfair). I have since learned that this is one of the most frequent causes of death in Little League. Scary.

Anything I might say could be construed as disrespectful. So all I am going to say is the world is a lesser place now that she is gone.

“According to reports in France, the victim’s brother has announced that the family will sue the company that made the dispenser.”

Of course. I saw the headline and knew that would be the endgame.

I would mourn for a season before I decided on whether or not to file a lawsuit over a ‘freak accident’ but that’s me.

    YellowSnake in reply to RedEchos. | June 24, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Do let us know when and if something similar ever happens.

    Besides what do you actually know? It turns out the infamous ‘Hot Coffee’ case was a lot more complicated than you would have learned in conservative media.

Henry Hawkins | June 23, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I’ve inspected her chest in the above photo and I cannot understand how the energy of the projectile could have possibly been transferred to her heart.

Loading those canisters with more than 2 whip-its can be hazardous….

The extent of risk of cardiac contusion is underappreciated. We did a study of moderate impact trauma to the anterior chest… in those days steering wheel impact at 40 mph or so. SPECT nuclear heart scans and if any perfusion defect.. into the ICU for observation. Half of all “positive” patients developed arrhythmia but a fourth developed a potential fatal arrhythmia which in most cases was self limiting. Most people would have usually gone home and made it or not on their own.

There was a story from Northern Ireland during the “troubles” of a protester taking a rubber bullet to the precordial chest and DRT (dead right there).

    iirc the older (as in before mainstream/std equipment) airbags could also trigger this (albeit lesser rate than wheel impact) and deployment forces were changed.
    I may be remembering wrong though.

      alaskabob in reply to dmacleo. | June 23, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      Initial air bags were the “lesser of two evils”. We treated people for trauma from the airbags… lower level facial and ortho. The days of LeFort fractures all the time… diminished…

I had one of those whip creamers partially explode in my hand. A quart of whipped cream completely covered the face and chest of my dinner guest who is an up and coming Chicago Outfit guy. That could have been an indirect cause of sudden death. Fortunately, he was good natured about it and we had been good friends for years. Plus I had been his dead father’s attorney for many years and got him out of all kinds of criminal and civil stuff.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Ewwwwww! The state of French “culture” these days.
Canned whipped cream? Really! Sacre mon!

I read about this about 20 years ago. At the end of every heartbeat there’s a fraction of a second when it stops and immediately restarts. If you get hit directly over the heart at that precise moment, it doesn’t restart.

tarheelkate | June 23, 2017 at 8:01 pm

I’m just relieved to know it wasn’t a can of Reddi Whip.

If I want to whip cream myself I use an electric mixer, which has never cause injury.

Sam in Texas | June 23, 2017 at 10:44 pm

To be pedantic for a moment. The heart has two main functional systems, a plumbing system and an electrical system. 1. plumbing. Heart attacks. The cardiac arteries get blocked, heart muscle doesn’t get blood, it starts dying. Too much muscle dies, you die. 2. electrical. Cardiac arrest. The muscle function of the heart is coordinated by electricity. If the electrical control system goes whack, you get arrhythmias: atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation. If you make it to ventricular fibrillation, the left ventricle that supplies the entire body quivers instead of pumping–you have about 4 minutes to live. Cardiac arrest. Impacts to the chest can disrupt the electrical system, they don’t do much to the plumbing system.

Is this like the 5 finger thing that Uma Thurman killed David Carradine with

In commotio cordis the impact has to be within a 10 to 30 millisecond window, which is certainly possible, but the impact energy generally has to exceed 50 joules. That’s a pretty substantial whack. A hockey puck can reach three times that. But I’m not seeing much in those machine parts which I’d expect to transfer 50 joules. Pretty weird, all right.

The article says “Sadly, it is a leading cause of death in young people.”

No, it’s a leading cause of *death by heart failure* in young people. That is, if a young person dies of heart failure, this is one of the most common causes (because young people tend to have healthy hearts otherwise).

It is *not* “a leading cause of death” in young people overall, nor is heart failure of all types combined.

The top four causes of death for young people are vehicular accidents, homicide, suicide, and cancer.