Observer Comment: Perhaps more notice should have been paid

THE SUDDEN death of teenager Esme Balp highlights the importance of health practitioners listening to the voice of the patient.

Particularly in the case of young people, care should be taken not to stereotype. The symptoms that Esme displayed - tiredness, lack of concentration, could easily have been put down to a typical teenage state.

But she knew that something was wrong, and as an intelligent and articulate young woman, perhaps more notice should have been paid to what she had to say.

Tragically she died before she had the chance to consult a specialist, and even after her death it is not clear exactly what was wrong.

Another problem is a general lack of awareness of potential causes of cardiac arrest in young people.

Charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) rightly focuses on such issues, in the hope of saving more young lives.

The on-pitch collapse of 24-year-old footballer Fabrice Muamba in April prompted the charity to launch its campaign to put pressure on the government and professional sporting bodies to offer screening to young people at risk.

We hear about those who fall victim to drink, drugs, or violence, but just as much attention should be paid to ill people whose symptoms are less visible.


WHEN Mauricio Vincenzi was told he had a 20 per cent chance of surviving an operation, it is hard to imagine what went through his mind (page 10).

The married father-of-one with another baby on the way, the 42-year-old had everything to live for.

He had only popped into his favourite deli in Crystal Palace to buy a taste of home.

Because he had been born and raised in Rio, a slice or two of Brazilian beef was a special treat that always reminded him of home.

He had bought the meat to use for a barbecue on the beach near his home in St Leonards.

But he never made the barbecue.

A horrific crash left him fighting for his life in hospital just minutes later.

In a split second Mauricio’s life was turned upside down.

He spent the next 18 months fighting to get back on his feet so he could provide for his family.

His triumph over adversity is a true inspiration to anyone looking for a way to cope with the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

And now he has a chance to share his fascinating story on a much bigger stage.

On Wednesday he will find out whether he will be invited to the Cannes Film Festival to share his epic story, one of very few from these parts ever given such an honour.

His love of the 60s-style Straight8 cine-camera inspired him to capture his story in a very special way.

But we will all have to wait until next week to find out what it looks like, including Mauricio.