FILED IN: Death/Loss

30 year-old woman dies after drinking 2 gallons of Coca-Cola a day

New Zealand Mother of 8 drank 2 gallons of Coke a day since she was a child


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A New Zealand woman who died February 25th, 2010 after suffering cardiac arrest that her partner believes was tied to her soft-drink intake now hope that her death will be a lesson to others. Experts at an inquest that took place last week say that Natasha Harris most likely suffered from hypokalemia, or low potassium that was caused by her massive consumption of little more then Coca-Cola. A poor diet and smoking about 30 cigarettes a day also contributed as well. Harris, 30, who was a stay at home mother of 8, would begin her morning with a glass of Coke beside her bed, and she would end her day with a glass of Coke.

Harris’ family was hoping to gain compensation for the children who are now in their grandparent’s care. Vivien Hodgkinson, Harris’ mother-in-law spoke to the Otago Daily Times and said that before Natasha’s death, none of them had really known the dangers of drinking too much soda, also saying “fizzy drink in general doesn’t come into our house.”

Chris Hodgkinson, Harris’ partner who had known her since she was sixteen years old testified at the inquest that ” she was addicted to Coke.”, and also said that she ate very little. A Coca-Cola Oceania representative who was at the inquest as an observer said that¬†“We deeply sympathise with the tragic death of Ms Harris, but we are firmly of the view her death was not due to the purchasing of Coca-Cola.” Hodgkinson also told the court that Ms. Harris had been unwell for a year prior to her untimely death, and would vomit about six times per week, which pathologist Dr. Dan Mornin says could have been from excessive consumption of caffeine, also known as caffeine toxicity.

Ms. Harris would get moody, irritable and “quite nasty”, and be low in energy without her daily fix of Coca Cola, but she never suspected that the soft drink could have been making her ill, said Mr. Hodgkinson. Karen Thompson, a spokeswoman for Coca-Cola said in a statement;¬†“We concur with the information shared by the coroner’s office that the grossly excessive ingestion of any food product, including water, over a short period of time with the inadequate consumption of essential nutrients, and the failure to seek appropriate medical intervention when needed, can be dramatically symptomatic.”