The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55603   Message #869247
Posted By: Mark Cohen
17-Jan-03 - 10:59 PM
Thread Name: Obit: Bee Gees- Maurice - And then there were two
Subject: RE: Obit: Bee Gees- Maurice - And then there were two
Just to shed a bit of light on the medical issue, which is still quite confusing. I believe that the congenital condition Maurice had is something called intestinal malrotation, and is not in itself fatal, but predisposes a person to a fatal complication. Malrotation happens during embryonic life. Normally, during development, the entire intestinal tract rotates in such a way that its blood supply (called the mesentery) gets "tacked down" neatly to the back of the abdominal cavity. If this does not happen, the "free-floating" mesentery can spontaneously twist on itself, kinking the major arteries and blocking the blood supply to part of the intestine: like twisting a loop in a garden hose. This condition, called volvulus, causes sudden excruciating abdominal pain, and, if not rapidly corrected by surgery, results in the death of some of the intestine, and, commonly, the patient. In a person who is born with malrotation, volvulus can occur at any time from infancy to adulthood....or never (though most of the time it happens in infancy or childhood, and is one of the causes of intestinal obstruction in a a newborn). There's no way of predicting or preventing it, unless the malrotation is detected by X-ray studies, that may be done for some unrelated problem. There are other malformations of the intestine that can lead to volvulus as well.

From the little bit I've read about this case (which is undoubtedly only partly related to the truth), it would be surprising if physician error played any part in Maurice's death. Not impossible, but it's certainly not what would leap to mind. It sounds like he had a cardiac arrest from some unknown cause (heart attack would be a likely guess), was resuscitated, then developed the volvulus, had to have emergency surgery to try to save his gut, and the stress was too much for his damaged heart. Just a guess, but at least it's an educated one.

Aloha,
Mark