Mum’s warning after daughter died ‘eating too much gum’

Mum Maria Morgan spoke out almost 10 years to the day since her beloved daughter, Samantha Jenkins, died on June 3, 2011 (Picture: Wales News Service)

A devastated mum has broken her silence after an inquest heard her teenage daughter could have been killed by eating too much chewing gum.  

Samantha Jenkins, 19, died 10 years ago after complaining about an upset stomach before collapsing and falling into a coma.  

She shouted out ‘Is this what it is like to die’ minutes before having a fit and being rushed to hospital.  

An autopsy revealed ‘four or five bright green lumps’ which turned out to be chewing gum.  

Family members found dozens of chewing gum wrappers and boxes in her bedroom at their home in Felinfoel, south Wales.  

A coroner in 2015 said it could have played a part in Samantha’s death, on June 3, 2011.  

Now her mum, Maria Morgan, has bravely spoken out about her ordeal three days before the 10th anniversary – as she paid tribute to her ‘bubbly, vivacious, fun-loving’ daughter.  

‘I remember it like it was yesterday’, Maria said.  

Mum Maria Morgan with her beloved daughter, Samantha Jenkins, who died aged 19 in 2011 (Picture: WALES NEWS SERVICE)

Samantha complained about feeling poorly after spending time in the hot sun, her mum recalled.  

She urged her to drink some water, mistakenly thinking she was ‘probably just a bit dehydrated’.  

But moments later, Maria told how she heard a ‘thud’.  

‘Me and my other daughter got up and went to the door and I said, “What the hell was that?”,’ Maria said.  

‘And she shouted downstairs, “Is this what it’s like to die?” and then we heard a thud again.’ 

Samantha was put into an induced coma but ‘she never came back’, her mum said.  

Maria said doctors told her they believed something had poisoned Samantha – and needed to figure out what in a bid to save her.  

She was rushed to a neurological ward for a brain scan but no signs of life were found.  

‘All I can remember is that I went into the hospital on Friday with a daughter, and I came out on the Monday with her glasses. That’s all I had,’ Maria said.  

‘I remember thinking how, how on earth can you go into hospital on a Friday with a 19-year-old daughter and walk out of there just two days later with just her glasses?  

‘It was the most, I can’t even explain, most surreal – I can’t even explain. It was just horrendous.’  

In the months following the tragedy, Samantha’s family had to cope with their grief while also trying to solve the mystery about what caused her sudden death.  

They later searched her bedroom for clues, Maria said, adding: ‘Every bag that she had and every drawer in her bedroom there were chewing gum wrappers, empty chewing gum boxes.  

A coroner found chewing gum could have played a role in Samantha’s death in 2011 (Picture: WALES NEWS SERVICE)

‘I couldn’t have told you how much she chewed, but I could say what I found – evidence that she was chewing them every day and was buying at least a packet a day on the way to work, sometimes two packets.’  

Pathologist Dr Paul Griffiths gave the cause of death as being a cerebral hypoxia caused by convulsions and depletion of electrolytes – vital to maintain key functions in the body.  

The coroner recorded a narrative verdict – but mentioned chewing gum could have played a role in the electrolyte depletion.  

Post mortem examination tests found she had low calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium levels – which could have been due to malabsorption caused by the gum in her stomach.  

Dr Griffiths added: ‘The most we can do is flag it up.’ 

But Maria has been left bewildered by many unanswered questions.  

‘Ten years on there are so many ‘whys’ for me, but the biggest why is why on earth have I lost my daughter to chewing gum? 

‘I still can’t get my head around it. She was such a loss. Bubbly, vivacious, fun loving, wouldn’t harm a fly.’ 

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