How many of us have tried to sneeze with our eyes open? It might seem funny but am sure there is a large number out there who have realized that this is impossible. Sneezing is one of the most powerful body reflexes and it happens to all of us. What doesn’t usually happen is dropping dead after sneezing.
If dying was a possibility then more of us would be struck with fear anytime we felt a sneeze coming on, but cases have been reported of people whose death has been attributed to a sneeze.
6) John Oram
Possibly the most famous case of ‘death by a sneeze’ happened to one John Oram (LINK 1) from South Devon. The coroner at HM coroner’s office in Palk Street Torquay stated that in 24 years this was the first case he had heard of someone dying by sneezing. The 50-year-old design engineer John Oram was at a care home known as Teignbridge House when the staff saw him sneeze violently.
Two days later he was dead. John’s sneezing caused minor subdural hematoma (trauma to the brain), which led to his death. His son Mark said that it was a surprise that something as simple as a sneeze could have led to his father’s death. Mark also said that his father would be dearly missed.
5) Laura McClendon
In Missouri, Laura McClendon (LINK 2) had just gotten a new job and was driving with her one year old son when another driver crashed into her car killing her, and severely injuring her son. Kathleen Brady was the driver of the minivan which crashed into Laura’s car. Kathleen started having a sneezing fit just before she hit Laura.
Missouri highway Patrol stated the fact that Laura wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when Kathleen hit her. They cited Kathleen for careless driving. Laura’s friends said that they were in shock, and that Laura had just improved her career and was getting her life together as a single mother.
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4) Liam Andrews
A 17-year-old teenager from Stockton (LINK 3) reportedly sneezed 6 times in a row and complained of a headache. Liam Andrews told his mother that his head hurt and she called an ambulance. Four days later he was declared brain-dead, then later died. Liam was an art, fashion and photography student at Middlesbrough College and was described as mischievous and a daredevil.
His mother stated that the other kids in the neighborhood were very worried especially after the way that Liam died. They just could not believe that a sneeze could kill someone. She held the first Liam Andrews Awards on World Down’s Syndrome Day to honor her son’s memory.
3) Edna Hickson
79-year-old Edna Hickson (LINK 4) of Smithtown was driving in a Hyundai Elantra to her sister’s home in Armidale when she sneezed and rolled her car a number of times on Waterfall Way. Her sister Betty Sheelah said that Edna was coming over to spend the week with her. Their family was arranging to have Edna’s 80th birthday party and the accident was a huge shock to them.
After the accident, the paramedics who arrived on the scene stated that Edna was quite alert. They said that she told them she sneezed and that was what led to the accident. Edna was then taken to Armidale Hospital where she died from internal injuries.
2) Dean Rice
In West Wales, 300 people attended the funeral of Anthony Dean Rice, an 18-year-old teenager from Bancffosfelen near Llanelli. Dean was on a camping trip at Scarborough with his family when he started sneezing. His father Stewart said that Dean was sitting on a chair inside the tent when he sneezed twice. They ignored it and thought it was probably hay fever.
Then Dean let out one tremendous sneeze and said that something popped in his ear, then collapsed on the floor. His mother Christine and sister Nikkita tried to revive him before the ambulance arrived. Dean was however pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital. Dean was said to be a very responsible teenager, who loved cooking and was studying to be a caterer.
1) Melainey Rose
36-year-old nurse Melainey Rose was killed when her car collided with a lorry near Cromarty Bridge in December 2007. The judge Lord Menzies said that the crash killed Rose and injured her mother and two other people. The driver of the lorry was 44-year-old Shane Fraser, who was found guilty of dangerous driving and banned from driving for five years.
Shane said that he had sneezed violently and jerked out of his seat when he heard a loud crash. He then grabbed the steering wheel and that’s when he realized it had been an accident. Rose was driving her mother from a hospital appointment when the accident claimed her life.