The Inquest into the Death of Sophia Mirza
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Today, 13th June 2006, the inquest into the death of Sophia Mirza was held in Brighton Coroners Court, England.

The cause of death was stated as

'The verdict was Acute aneuric renal failure due to dehydration arising as a result of CFS'

Two pathologists could not agree which name to use - CFS, ME or ME/CFS.

In the end it was stated that CFS is a modern word for ME.

This is why CFS was used on the death certificate.

The pathologist also said -

'ME describes inflammation of the spinal cord and muscles. My work supports the inflammation theory. There was inflammation in the basal root ganglia.'

The Inquest of Sophia Mirza 

Brighton Coroner’s Court, 13th June 2006.

Those present were the Coroner and her two court officers and Criona Wilson, Sophia’s mother. The solicitor who had represented Sophia when she had been sectioned against her will turned up much to the delight of Criona – this lady had been deeply affected by the treatment meted out to Sophia apparently.

The only others present were the two pathologists, Dr. O’Donovan from Oldchurch hospital and the local Pathologist Dr. Rainey.

The lady Coroner was very firm and laid down the rules of the Court at the very beginning. The only evidence that would be considered was that which directly led to the death of Sophia. The primary purpose of the court is to establish why Sophia died.

Evidence was heard first from Dr. O’Donovan, the neuro-pathologist who had examined the spinal cord along with Dr. Chaudhuri. He reported that the spinal cord looked normal but that he had found that 4 out of 5 dorsal root ganglia were abnormal and showed disease. He had not been able to find exactly what had caused this but the result was dorsal root ganglionitis – an inflammation.

Many potential causes of death were discussed, such as sleep apnoea, and then discounted. Notes from Kings College and Oldchurch were referred to which alluded to possible drug use. If this had occurred in the 2 years before diagnosis this would have rendered the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome inaccurate and it would have been substituted with Chronic Fatigue State. It was, however, established that if Sophia had ever taken such drugs it was 7 or 8 years before she became ill and was therefore irrelevant.

Then Criona gave evidence and answered fully the Coroner’s thorough but sensitive questioning. It was very moving.

There was then a break and when the court resumed Dr. O’Donovan took the stand again. He said that Sophia probably died of dehydration, technically acute aneuric renal failure.

He also stated that dorsal root ganglionitis is a pathological condition. He said that psychiatrists were baffled by her illness but that “It lies more in the realms of neurology than psychiatry, in my opinion.

He also commented that it is surprising that there is no pathological research in the literature.

He was asked by Criona whether his findings support the term Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and he said "My work supports the inflammation theory because there was inflammation in the basal root ganglia." He would not support the use of the term M.E. over CFS, however, because that is the modern term and he hasn’t seen evidence of muscle inflammation (they didn’t look for it).

Dr. Rainey then gave evidence and said that Sophia’s heart had been sent to the Brompton hospital but no abnormalities had been found. Sophia had a high BMI when she died and a “fatty” liver. He didn’t take muscle histology to check for inflammation.

He commented that M.E. was the old-fashioned term and the new terminology has come in (CFS) so he was determined to use that.

The Coroner then retired to consider the verdict which she came back and delivered in narrative fashion.

She said that Sophia had been an attractive and vigorous young woman until she was struck down by illness.

She suffered substantially and became extremely unwell and was effectively housebound and bed-ridden. Her Mother was her devoted carer.

The medical cause of death was

1a) Acute aneuric renal failure due to dehydration
1b) CFS
2) Previous history of meningitis, dorsal root ganglionitis and hepatic steatosis.

Sophia died as a result of acute renal failure arising as a result of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.)




Read Sophia's story from her mother-Criona Wilson. Sophia's Story
Link to the ITV Meridian interview with Criona Wilson
Link to translations of the Inquest into the Death of Sophia Mirza.




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