Epilepsy is behind the death of a German Bank of America intern who worked in London, according to an inquest. Moritz Erhardt of Staufen, Germany, died from an epileptic seizure while taking a shower in his London apartment Aug. 15.
Erhardt, 21, had been working 72 hours straight as an intern for Bank of America. He emailed his parents regularly, which they received in the early morning, but they reportedly never heard Erhardt complain about his intern duties. He was in the last few days of completing his internship when he died.
Epilepsy can be triggered by stress and fatigue, plenty of which Erhardt seemed to be suffering from in the days before his death, as was evident in his long work hours. But it is also possible the young man’s seizure was not triggered by anything specific, according to Coroner Mary Hassell: “It’s possible that fatigue brought about his fatal seizure. It’s also possible that it just happened.”
Erhardt had been taking medication for his epilepsy. Interestingly, he had done an internship at a different bank in Germany and had sought medical treatment at that time, due to exhaustion.
When Erhardt applied for the intern position with Bank of America, he was asked whether he had any medical conditions, specifically seizures, to which he replied, “No.” Erhardt was reportedly diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010.
Internships are notorious for the long hours and stress. When Erhardt died, Bank of America decided to look into their work practices and see where they could improve but it appears that interns are competitive amongst themselves. If an intern shows promise and works hard, a job offer is a possibility, and since jobs are highly competitive, interns can attempt to outdo each other to nab precious job offers. But no one at Bank of America knew Erhardt had epilepsy.
According to Juergen Schroeder, Erhardt’s boss at Bank of America, the interns enjoyed working long hours but working late was sometimes unavoidable because of deadlines. Erhardt was reportedly popular at Bank of America and was most likely going to be offered a job with the bank after completing his internship. It was Schroeder who discovered Erhardt’s body in the shower the day he died.
What is epilepsy, and how can it be managed?
Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that affects physical and mental functioning. Seizures are usually brief but it is important to have the person with epilepsy in an appropriate position during the course of the seizure.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, over 2 million people in the U.S. live with epilepsy. It is a condition that is familiar to many, and there are effective ways to manage epilepsy.
For someone who lives with epilepsy, the rules to follow to keep healthy also apply to those interested in living in a healthy way: exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet and get enough sleep. When exercising, it’s imperative not to get overheated or fatigued, because this can lead to a seizure. Keep a journal of your daily activities and keep track of which activities might trigger a seizure.
By Juana Poareo