Broken Heart Syndrome is Real

Broken hearts is the stuff of romance novels, movies and soap operas…

“The only thing a boyfriend was good for was a shattered heart.”

Becca Fitzpatrick, “Crescendo

“A broken heart is just the growing pains necessary so that you can love more completely when the real thing comes along.”J.S.B. Morse, “Now and at the Hour of Our Death

“Doctoring her seemed to her as absurd as putting together the pieces of a broken vase. Her heart was broken. Why would they try to cure her with pills and powders?”

Leo Tolstoy, “Anna Karenina

 

Broken Heart Syndrome

Literature and fictional portrayals aside, there are many aspects of society that cause a true broken heart.  The most familiar is the romantic sense. I’ve been there a couple of times and it took such a long time to recover, I chose not to entertain the possibility again. It is a grief no one wants. As the walking wounded person, you want to insulate yourself from everything and everyone, aimlessly looking for purpose again. However, the walking wounded do recover and can flourish again.

However, there are true broken hearts of the physical variety.  This is a bona fide medical condition which has several names. One is “broken heart syndrome,” Another is “apical ballooning syndrome.” Still other terms are “stress induced cardiomyopathy” and  takotsubo cardiomyopathy.”  

It all began in 1990 with a Japanese physician who took an image of the heart of an afflicted patient and thought that it resembled the shape of a “Tako-tsubo” the name for a ceramic pot Japanese fisherman use to capture octopus. 



 

What happens?   Symptoms begin with chest pain and shortness of breath and can mimic a heart attack. The disruption of heart pumping, known as a “stunning” or a surge of stress hormones is actually acute heart failure caused by a lack of female estrogen hormones which are short-lived in nature. The left heart ventricle is the main chamber pumping the blood OUT of the heart to the remainder of the body. It temporarily cannot pump the blood forward, resulting in poor circulation, shock, or death.

This condition differs from a heart attack in that a traditional heart attack causes a nearly complete or full blockage of a heart artery due to a blood clot resulting in the narrowing caused by fatty buildup (atherosclerosis) in the artery wall. Broken heart Syndrome blood flow is reduced, not blocked. Other cases have been reported after general anesthesia, transplantation surgery, general surgery.

Complications can include accumulation of fluid into your lungs (pulmonary edema), Low Blood Pressure, Arrhythmia, or Heart Failure.

Women are Most Vulnerable

The incidence of Broken Heart Syndrome is far greater for women, 90% as compared to men;

Women between the age of 58 and 75 (median age, 63) comprise 90% of all reported case;

Cardiologists are now more aware of it with  approximately 5% of women being evaluated for a possible heart attack;

Those with a previous neurologic condition such as seizures, of brain injury or are at greater risk of broken heart syndrome;

Potential Causes

According to a 2017 article from the Mayo Clinic the following are typical causes of BHS: “Broken heart syndrome is often preceded by an intense physical or emotional event.” Some potential triggers of broken heart syndrome are:

  • News of an unexpected death of a loved one
  • A frightening medical diagnosis
  • Domestic abuse
  • Losing — or even winning — a lot of money
  • Strong arguments
  • A surprise party
  • Having to perform publicly
  • Job loss
  • Divorce
  • Physical stressors, such as an asthma attack, a car accident or major surgery

ADDITIONS TO THE LIST- I would add: Homicide, Missing Persons, Sexual assault- Rape, Home Invasion, Kidnapping,  Intimate Partner- Family Violence, Suicide 

The Good News-

Irrespective of it’s initial serious nature, medical documentation from several sources reveal that Broken Heart Syndrome is often rapidly reversible to normal, usually within 14 days. Most patients recover with no long-term damage within a month. And, there is only a small chance that BHS will recur. There is no proven therapy to prevent BHS.  However, eliminating stress is the most common recommendation for prevention.

Medical experts believe that there is a strong connection between brain functions affecting the heart. In fact many seemingly healthy people have suddenly died during a disaster- traumatic event.  Such causes are still not fully understood. Apparently, the media has not  made the connection when reporting these events.  

Thank you, Judy Rust-

Patrick Rust

Sgt. Patrick Rust

A mother’s quest to find the truth about her murdered son! “The systems”  failed Judy Rust over and over. She needs peace in her heart about her son, former Sgt. Patrick Rust who was murdered in 2007. Numerous injustices occurred over time with this still unsolved case.  Rather than peace, she experienced Broken Heart Syndrome after the murder of her son which she shares on this recent Shattered Lives Podcast.  We wish her continued better health and answers to  resolution for this case!  

To listen to her podcast click this link-  http://tobtr.com/10375503

 

References: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/broken-heart;

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3214344/

http://www.thecardiologyadvisor.com/heart-failure/takotsubo-cardiomyopathy-expert-opinion/article/639656/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/broken-heart-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20354617


Donna R. Gore, M.A.

Donna R. Gore, M.A.

 

To schedule a presentation with me at your future event or  conference please contact:

ImaginePublicity,  Telephone: 843.808.0859  Email:  contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

 

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Can You Help Bring Clarity to a Missing Person?

An Appeal to Forensic Artists:

What do I mean “bring clarity to a missing person?” No, I don’t mean gather more information to solve the case; I don’t mean bring resolution;   I don’t mean getting media exposure for the case.; I’m not referring to  providing financial resources or respite for families…. These are all wonderful goals for which we can strive. However, in this case, I literally mean clarity of the visual variety.

It has always baffled me how for some cold cases, we are forced to  circulate an old well-worn photograph which is so fuzzy to be nearly useless. If we can’t even decipher the victim’s face, how can we possibly  envision  age progression to the current date?   How can we assist families who no longer have adequate photos to circulate?  I have been criticized for circulating “fuzzy photos.” To that I say, don’t shoot the messenger! ‘ Not my fault; ‘Not anyone’s fault.

So, what are the options for families who have that one photo that represents their loved one from long ago?

There are several image progression tools that you can download from an application. Some examples within the following list may be applicable to use for your missing loved one.

Image Progression Tools

You can view yourself via age progression with help from tools based on an actual image of yourself. Here are some of the recommended applications:

  1. age-me.com: Upload a photo of yourself, and then watch as it is aged before your eyes. You can even set different factors that might influence the way you age. An interesting way to consider your own path of aging, and how it will affect your looks.
  2. PhotoShop: You probably will not be surprised to learn that PhotoShop offers the ability to show age progression. This handy tutorial shows you how to make it happen.
  3. Face of the Future: You can look and see how you might change over the years. Upload your own picture and see how you are likely to change in the future. A great, free tool that provides you with interesting insight.
  4. MyWebFace: You can see your age progression with this animation. Turn yourself into a cartoon figure — and then watch that figure age. Also helps you turn it into an avatar that you can use on your profile pages.
  5. In20Years.com: Cool age progression tool that allows you to age yourself by 20 years. Upload your photo, and then get an idea of how you will look after 20 years have passed.
  6. ThatsMyFace: Transform your face. See your face in 3D, see yourself as older and even create personalized gifts and merchandise using this web tool. One of the funnest options is creating a personalized action figure using your face.
  7. Face Transformer: Use this webtool from the Perception Laboratory to change how you look. Cool tool also lets you change race or sex on top of age. You can also place yourself in a famous painting, or even see what you look like as a Manga character.
  8. GIMP: You can manipulate pictures, including based on age, using the GNU program that allows you to accomplish interesting feats with your face. Helpful and fun
  9. Portrait Professional: Lets you change images and more. You can also add age, on top of being able to retouch and enhance photos.
  10. HourFace: This is actually an iPhone app that allows you to age an image. You can do even do it by the hour, to see how much older you can look in one day.
  11. Your Shape Picture Progress: Helps you take pictures over time, and then create a movie showing your progression. Can help you track weight loss, as well as your age progression.
  12. Make-Me-Old: If you don’t mind paying a subscription fee, you can use this age progression software to see how you will look as you get older. Claims to use FBI grade software to age you.
  13. PhoJoe: This photo art service can help with age progression. However, it is quite pricey, since it is considered forensic art.

Another option which could potentially assist crime victims a great deal, would be the assistance of a forensic artist to volunteer their services in recreating a current likeness of the missing person.

However, it appears that there are not many forensic artists who have the extra time or motivation to lend their services without compensation. (I have reached out a couple of times online  without success.) Recent estimates reveal that there are less than 100 full-time forensic artists in the country.  A majority of artists  are freelancers hired by departments or active-duty officers or other agency employees who are called in when needed. “Twenty or so sketches year, are still not enough work to justify keeping a full-time artist on the payroll.”

According to three veteran forensic artists interviewed for the publication MentalFloss.com in May 2017, the following information was offered:

1) Melissa Cooper, a freelance forensic artist based in California, says that all of our    senses matter when creating a sketch.  For example, asking questions about smells can trigger memory recall for other features. If you recall the cologne, you perhaps can recall other details.

2) Trying to create an exact likeness might make a sketch less likely to resonate with the public.  If there’s one thing wrong, one detail, they’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s not my buddy,’” Cooper says. “When it’s more sketchy, more scribbled, you’re leaving more open to interpretation.” Therefore, according to Lisa Bailey, Author of “Ask a Forensic Artist,” Forensic Artists necessity keep their own self-expression and artistry out of it, not adding information that would create a ‘prettier’ image that could lead someone away from recognition.”

3)The skull says so much, according to Melissa Cooper, “It can tell you where the eyes angled, where the nostrils went where the eyebrows were. Given the choice of a photo of a corpse that’s decomposing or a skull, I’d take the skull.”

4) Some detectives are reluctant to use sketches, as they are wary to rely on the memory of witnesses;

5) Sometimes a forensic artist  completes a sketch in order to corroborate a lead for a suspect they already know.

6) “Don’t forget the ears” – Most people don’t pay attention to ears. As an aid, there are manuals with ear samples to assist witnesses when creating a sketch.

7)  “ Other body parts”… Some reconstructions include a  slight smile in order to expose unusual dentition – a crooked tooth, etc. When working with a decomposed – featureless  body  in the woods, artists are actually assisted by looking in nearby bird nests, as they love to collect hair for the building of their nests!

A Personal Appeal – With this information as a backdrop, I ask once again if there might be a forensic artist reading this blog who would lend their time to selected homicide -missing person cases sorely in need of a new image.

Two cases in point from Connecticut-

Evelyn Frisco-

Missing From:New Haven, CT

Missing since:06/29/04

Classification:Endangered Missing

Age at Disappearance: 42

Date of Birth: 05/24/62

White Female

Height: 5’2

Weight: 125 lbs

Hair:Blonde

Eyes: Blue

Scars,Marks Tattoos: Tattoo of a “rose” or “butterfly” on possible right shoulder, scar on leg, upper dentures.

Clothing: Possibly carrying a black pocket-book.

Nickname:Evy

Circumstances of Disappearance:

After a court appearance, Evelyn was never seen again. Evelyn was last seen in the New Haven, CT area.

Investigative Agency:

New Haven Police Department

(203) 946-6304

If you have any information on this case please contact CUE Center For Missing Persons using the contact form below or contact Cue Center at (910) 343-1131 24 hour tipline (910) 232-1687.

All information submitted to CUE Center For Missing Persons is confidential.

Mary Badaracco

Nickname: Mary Poo

Disappeared from: 25 Wakeman Hill Rd- Sherman, CT

Height:5’7 in.

Weight:145

Age at Disappearance: 53

Sex:Female

Eyes:Brown

Hair:Brown

Complexion: Dark

Race:White

Date of Birth: 3/11/46

Details:

Missing Person | Homicide Victim

Circumstances of Disappearance:

Unknown. Mary was last seen at her residence in the vicinity of the 20 block of Wakeman Rd. Her husband stated that when he returned home from work, she was missing. Most of her belongings were also missing, although her vehicle was still at her residence with the windshield smashed in. Foul play is suspected. A $50,000 reward is being offered by the state of Connecticut for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for Mary’s disappearance and/or homicide.

Connecticut State Police

Western District Major Crime Squad

800-376-1554

Or the CUE CENTER FOR MISSING PERSONS-(910) 232-1687 -24 Hour Line Tip line

 

References- http://www.mastersingerontology.com/top-25-incredible-age-progression-tools-online.html

http://mentalfloss.com/article/500470/15-secrets-police-sketch-artists

http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/missing-persons/missing-other-states/

Paying the Price Over and Over: Still More Victimization for Crime Victims!  

 

justice-2071539_960_720

Once upon a time there was a crime victim advocate who received a mysterious message from a State’s Attorney via her website. Ahh, yes, it was me.  With considerable trepidation I listened to the message which concerned a very high profile Connecticut case of long ago that had international press that stretched from West Hartford, to Israel and Mexico, and even the TV show, “America’s Most Wanted” several times!

Background

This case was one in which I was personally invested beginning in the 80’s. I had bonded with the matriarch of the family with whom I attended support meetings. I was there as a court escort during every ghastly minute of the trial and sentencing to try to educate and support the family.   In later years, I did a radio podcast with this wonderful woman who conveyed her ordeal after a 23 year wait for justice and after having survived many additional  family tragedies. This elderly lady was resilience plus!

We would touch base every so often and, admittedly, we have not been in touch for a long time.

It is so hard to know when someone in their 70’s, 80’s or nearly 90 wants to “put it all away,” like sealing an envelope, locking the door and moving on forever, however, not at peace, their heart remains.  This becomes the moral question when you are faced with a choice.

The Conversation

The attorney was a post conviction attorney and was in charge of representing the victim’s family in still another judicial hearing. The murderer was now requesting an appeal on the basis of ineffective counsel. All of the rules and procedures of ineffective counsel appeals are complex and speaks primarily to the plight of indigent clients. 

However, in this case, the defendant was anything but poor, with a wealthy family able to hide him out for years in other countries undetected! Although money talks, the attorney told me that these appeals are seldom successful.

The Shocker

I was contacted as the attorney was scrounging around the internet to try to find contact information for the victim’s family.

What?? How could this be?  

Was it because the attorney newly assigned attorney didn’t have access to the original case file? Was it because there was such a huge timeline from the initial crime convictions, years on the lamb, and actual capture and family members are now not able to be accessed?

This was a HUGE case with the FBI and the murderer being one of the most sought after criminals in history! Apparently, they don’t keep track of family once their job is done!

No, No, No… The real reason was that all of the funds in post conviction Connecticut cases currently have to be put into the judicial process. That means there are no investigators to assist and no victim advocates to notify victim families!  No funds whatsoever on the victim side of the equation such that an attorney is relegated to doing his own internet searches and being as creative as possible to get the job done.

As a homicide survivor from Connecticut I am horrified! How many other post conviction cases are there with absolutely no victim services for investigation and the all important notification?

(The actual timeline spanned from the date of the murder in March 1987 to July of 2011 when the evil perpetrator was finally escorted to prison in Connecticut  to begin serving his 60 year sentence.)

The Request and Follow-Up

Can I contact the victim’s family and notify them that this proceeding is taking place soon and provide contact information to the attorney?  There was another option of a former  retired investigator assisting.

I  was truly torn.  To receive a communication out the the blue, involving this family who has gone through so much already. In addition, I did not know how my very elderly friend’s health could withstand such news or whether she had any interest at all to disrupt her life yet again! And wait a minute – It is the responsibility of the State of Connecticut and affiliated Victim Services to provide notification and follow up support!

I tried to research and locate an older family sibling in and out of Connecticut and made calls, but was unsuccessful in reaching the correct person.  

I then decided to check out the situation further and went to the West Hartford Police to speak to a detective. The young detective listened and agreed to check on the veracity and the circumstances, which he verified with a follow up call to me. However, it was clear that they were still putting the ball in my court.

I still did not feel comfortable calling this family’s matriarch after so many months to deliver such news! It didn’t feel right.  I think I was correct. This is why… In July 2011 the perpetrator’s sentence was disposed and he was ordered to begin his long overdue sentence in a secure facility.

At this proceeding, the following were Addie’s words-

I’m not here to see Adam Zachs. My family is not here to see Adam Zachs. I’m here to support some of the people [who captured Zachs] – the West Hartford police, the U.S. marshals. They were relentless.”

“The reason I don’t want to see Adam again is I’ve had enough of the Zachs family,” Carone said. “Three weeks at the trial they looked at us with hate in their eyes and their faces, anger at us, and arrogance. No words of any kindness or sympathy. Shame on the entire family. I will never, never forgive that family.”

Parting Thoughts

What has our criminal justice system become when there are absolutely no funds to notify victims of still more turmoil in a scenario that has dragged on for years and years? How many more families are affected by this situation?  Why are survivors of crime a mere afterthought in such cases?

There is no doubt that this murderer was guilty and that thousands, maybe millions of dollars were expended in investigating and trying to capture this worthless human being- a person with no conscience and was all about privilege to get through life?

This is the responsibility of our State as a matter of public safety and our Constitutional Victim’s Rights. We must inform  in a timely matter with sensitivity, the perils of crime -wounds that never seem to heal.

References-

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publishing/criminal_justice_section_newsletter/crimjust_cjmag_24_3_primus.authcheckdam.pdf

https://patch.com/connecticut/westhartford/convicted-killer-zachs-taken-away-to-prison

https://patch.com/connecticut/westhartford/convicted-killer-zachs-taken-away-to-prison


DonnaGore-2To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity.Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.com

You can find me here, please follow or friend! Facebook,  Shattered Lives,  Twitter, LinkedIn

Crime Victimization: It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over

 

 crime victim

 

I have come to realize that working with other crime victims is never  a “one and done proposition” when you have invested with your heart as well as your other skills.

Getting Ready

In the beginning, you have a specific assignment, your procedures, your time frame, your technical assistance waiting in the wings, your  “cut to the chase priorities” if needed.

You anticipate need, you craft questions and ways to elicit information that are most helpful. You know how to interview and you have learned that listening to both what is said and not said are equally important. You underestimate your time when time is the most precious commodity.

Changing your Mindset

Sometimes as professionals, (whether paid or unpaid) we sell ourselves short, for we may think that these vulnerable people who have joined the “victim of violent club”  entered kicking and screaming just like us, oh so long ago. As seasoned victim advocates, we must clear out the cobwebs and put ourselves in their role again, not a comfortable position.  However, your pain must be dredged up, now to be used as a teaching tool for others. You must set your personal opinions aside and be the victim, apart from the horrendous crime.  You must comfort, carefully  sprinkling realism on what they may think or may learn from television or  biased media reports.

Ready, Set, Go-Maybe…

You are providing a service ready to go on specified date, but alas, keep in mind that your “colleague in crime” may be grief-stricken, not able to communicate, organize thoughts, not able to go to work, rise from bed on that day, answer e-mails or phone calls. If they can’t face the world today, they can’t be ready for you. You must be prepared. You walk that delicate balance of providing a sense of hope that they will make it through. Although their lives are irreparably changed forever, someday something positive will blossom in their lives because of, in spite o,f the awful event that took their loved one from this earth.  However, you must not make promises you can’t keep.  

The Judicial System

When dealing with the judicial system, they must be prepared that weak evidence, lack of evidence, contradictory evidence ,circumstantial evidence and lack of DNA (the “magic bullet” can all be part of the uncertainty for the jury and hence, reasonable doubt. No matter how much you love your  family member  and present a fair and balanced picture to the court,  the defense can and does readily put the victim on trial, exposing all matter of skeletons in one’s closet!  If the victim was complicit in the crime, not an innocent victim by legal standards, or if  mitigating factors are present (any information or evidence presented to the court regarding the defendant or the circumstances of the crime that might result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence). This includes the very real possibility of a plea bargain-deal.

The Brand New Victim

Is not resilient, cannot anticipate, frequently has few people with whom to compare notes. When discussing their cases with family members (who are often at different places emotionally) more questions than answers are generated, with few if any timely answers. They are resentful, depressed, very angry and so very disillusioned.

The Seasoned Victim Advocate Providing a Service

Provides a lifeline; a yardstick against which to measure the starts and stops, ebb and flow of the process. But most importantly, when hearts ans souls are involved, it is NOT a “One and done”, ‘Bye, see ya’, “Have a nice life.”  How can it possibly be so when you are spiritually kindred souls? A valuable connection has been made when a new crime victim puts their trust in you to “paint the true picture” of their precious loved one.  Afterall, isn’t that that way life should be?  

You hope for a connection that will last.  Even if it cannot be for whatever reason, you know in your heart of hearts, you truly have made a difference and are with them spiritually when they deliver their customized victim impact statement in the mahogany laden room where they hope justice will prevail! This is one of the most difficult chapters. But truly, it will never “be over” for a crime victim.   he fat lady of the opera never sings…. However, victims  can and do evolve from victimization to survivor, and sometimes, a thriver- all very important distinctions!

For assistance with creating customized Victim Impact Statements for families experiencing homicide with sufficient preparation time, see the following link-  https://donnagore.com/victim-impact-statement-assistance/ 


Donna R. Gore

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity.Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.com

You can find me here, please follow or friend! Facebook,  Shattered Lives,  Twitter, LinkedIn