Story by Samantha Helms Concerning Corinne Quick’s death

Dear Editor,

I found it hard to read the September 19, 2001 issue of the Western Carolinian. On the cover appears the picture and story concerning the death of Corinne Quick, a student at WCU. The reason why it is hard to read this story is because of the poorly reported facts within it.

I always thought that in this day and age, accessing and obtaining information was rather easy. I was sorely mistaken after reading the aforementioned story. Throughout the article, the comments of only one person were used. I understand that stories in newspapers only contain the information from a certain number of sources. But in this case, the source cited within the story is wrong.

To begin, Corinne was taken to Mission Hospital on the morning of August 6th. However, it was not until the early part of the NEXT morning that a CT scan, followed by an MRI, confirmed the existence of clots within the VEINS (not arteries) of Corinne’s head. A rigorous blood-thinning therapy ensued for the rest of the day. That evening, the blood-thinning therapy was failing. A rather bold decision was made to try a relatively new procedure that entailed breaking the clot up by actually going in via catheters inserted in both legs that were delicately pushed to the problem veins in the brain.

This procedure on August 7th was moderately successful and was repeated on the morning of August 8th. The one and only truth in the story is the hemorrhaging that occurred on August 9th. It was following this hemorrhaging that neurosugery was performed to relieve the excessive pressures that were building within Corinne’s head. Subsequent surgeries were performed to continue relieving pressure and were ultimately unsuccessful.

The cause of death, as listed in the story, was due to a genetic condition known as Factor Five. The real name is Factor Five Leiden, and was not the actual cause of death. As listed on the death certificate, the immediate cause of death was “superior sagittal sinus thrombosis.” In English, that means that the vein on top center of the brain is clotted. The genetic condition was listed as a possible other factor in the death of Corinne.

If the source were truly well informed, then she would have known of one of the positive ways to look at Corinne’s untimely passing. Since she had aspired to become a nurse, Corinne knew the value of life. She knew that if her life was to end, others could be helped out tremendously with a gift of her organs. It was a great comfort in knowing that her heart, liver, and kidneys were all taken and given to those who might possibly live on because of her tremendous gift. I know her liver was given to a critically ill 22-year-old young woman, and each kidney given to persons that had families who were just hoping that someone would be able to give the gift of life.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask the editor if policy for the Western Carolinian could be changed. If a story of this nature is written, I believe that the family members of the deceased should be given the final authority on whether or not the story should be run. Not only is reading about the recent death of a loved one hard, but also seeing a picture of the deceased in the paper vibrant and full of life only makes it that much harder. Furthermore, I believe that reading a newspaper is a horrible way to find out about a friend’s death. In this case, in addition to the distress caused, the friend would also be misinformed.

I realize that writing this story meant no harm. It is always hard for anyone to hear that someone close to their age at their university passed away so suddenly. I just found the reporting to be very lax by only using one source and not contacting the family before the story was printed. Mr. Sams, if at all possible, in the interest of not upsetting any other families should another story of this nature arise, please contact them.

And, instead of running a “blow-by-blow” account of the death, how about a story written by friends and family to remember the deceased in a positive way?


Travis R. QuickCorinne’s brother