Vegan Health ArticlesAn American Tragedy: Florence Griffith Joyner's Autopsy
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From Robert Cohen,
May 2011

Protein in milk is good for you,
Flo-Jo was quite emphatic.
The casein in milk,
Is furniture Glue
That's why so many kids
are asthmatic.
500,000 children in New York
are tragically diagnosed
free milk at school,
free cheese each day
these sick kids are overdosed!

This female African American became an admired role model to all as a result of her Olympic achievements in track and field. She crossed ethnic and racial barriers, and her life became an inspiration to male and female, black and white, young and old. Flo Jo, as she was most commonly known, was wife and friend to Al Joyner and loving mother to her eight-year-old daughter, Mary Ruth (Mo Jo). She combined her athletic ability with great looks, personality and business acumen to build a financial empire that included her line of unique clothing. She was in great demand as a motivational speaker, and major corporations would seek her personal endorsement of their products and services by offering enormous financial inducements.

We will also remember Flo Jo by her appearance as a model and spokeswoman for the dairy industry. She posed for a milk mustache ad, and in doing so might very well have been betrayed and killed by a product that did NOT do her body good. Nature's perfect food for baby cows is most certainly not nature's perfect food for African-Americans. Three-quarters of the human population of planet earth cannot tolerate lactose. Estimates of lactose intolerance for black people run as high as ninety-five percent. We shall never know if Flo Jo was aware of this fact. What we do assume is that dairy industry executives and dairy scientists must know how black people are so affected. FDA knows this truth and so does USDA.

Rest in peace, Flo Jo. Here is the official explanation of your death, followed by contradictory evidence contained within your actual autopsy.

The Drug Controversy

Flo Jo was a magnificent athlete and had a beautifully well developed and sculptured body. She was 1.65 m (5 feet 5 inches) tall and weighed a solid 69 kg (152 pounds). Many people suspected that Flo Jo's magnificent physique, as well as her athletic success and subsequent death might have been caused by steroid or drug use. One task of the medical examiner's office was to confirm or negate this suspicion. An enormous collective sigh of relief might have been produced by all of Flo Jo's friends and family when the inquest and autopsy revealed no such steroid drug presence.

In order to come up with a cause, the coroner examined both forensic and historical data. Many conversations between the sheriff's department and the Dairy Education Board revealed to me that an asthma link was not explored. The contents of Flo Jo's stomach were not rigorously examined, a remarkable omission in the case of any autopsy. Yet, the comments of the autopsy surgeon are quite revealing.

The official cause of death was "POSITIONAL ASPHYXIA" due to "EPILEPTIFORM SEIZURE."

The coroner had to fit this death into a series of circumstances. After rejecting the steroid drug theory, a timely explanation was critical. There had to be closure, both for the family and for enormous financial considerations which survived Flo Jo's death.

Positional asphyxia is the same term applied to prisoners who die in police custody, handcuffed with one or more police officers on their backs. It is the label given to the deaths resulting from chokeholds. The medical examiner wrote that Flo Jo died by suffocation. He concluded that she had an epileptic seizure and smothered in her pillow.

Grand-mal epileptic seizures can be violent events. They are rarely pillow- smothering events. The spasms included in such seizures often evidence an array of confirming symptoms. One treatment for epileptics suffering such seizures is to protect the mouth and tongue, which can suffer abrasions and bites. There was no blood found in Flo Jo's mouth and the official autopsy reveals:

"No trauma is noted on the lips or tongue."

There are many numerous signs and clues ignored by the coroner.

During the autopsy procedure I personally communicated with members of the forensic team. I told them to explore whether Flo Jo reacted to CASEIN, the most allergenic of all bovine proteins. Before his death, Dr. Benjamin Spock called this milk and cheese protein the cause of most allergies. CASEIN represents eighty percent of all milk protein! CASEIN is the same glue used to hold a label to a bottle of beer and the same glue used to hold together wood in furniture. Dr. Frank Oski, once the Chief of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, called CASEIN the etiology of violent allergic reactions in greater than 50% of ALL children. African Americans cannot tolerate bovine sugars (lactose) or proteins, and have a more marked negative response to these milk components.

The Asthma Connection

On Sunday (November 8, page 21), reporter Joe Calderone wrote in the New York Daily News: "Asthma afflicts an estimated 500,000 New Yorkers and is the leading cause of hospitalization among the city's children. Deaths from the disease, which can shut down a person's airways in minutes, have risen by 50% since 1980."

What else has proportionately risen by 50% since 1980? Free school lunch and breakfast giveaway programs, that's what! What is the major component of the free lunch? Surplus milk, cheese, ice cream and butter supplied by USDA. Many of New York City's kids are African-American and Latin-American and fall below the federal government's mandated food subsidy program. Asthma deaths are far more fatal in New York than reported, contributing to nearly double the number of deaths previously attributed to disease, according to investigator Calderone of the Daily News.

Dr Neil Schacter, president of the American Lung Association was interviewed for Calderone's article. Schacter believes that asthma deaths are being under-reported and are sometimes called cardiovascular disease, rather than asthma. Asthma is currently NOT a reportable disease. Dr. Harold Osborne, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Long Island Hospital College was quoted as saying:

"If you are a person with asthma and another chronic illness such as heart disease, and you are found dead, it is very likely that your cause of death will automatically be listed as heart-related."

Why is the medical community ignorant of scientific studies implicating milk and dairy products as the cause of asthma? This appeared in the journal of Pediatric Immunology (1995;11)

"Food allergy may trigger allergic respiratory symptoms through two main routes: ingestion or inhalation. We have shown that a significant proportion of children with IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy experienced asthma following double-blind, placebo-controlled oral food challengewith cow's milk."

Clinical studies support the asthma-milk connection: "In a series of 48 patients suffering from either nonseasonal asthma or classic migraine, a marked clinical alleviation was obtained in 33 patients by removing all cows milk protein from their diet."

The Autopsy - Coroner Case #98-6262ME

Residues of two drugs were detected in Flo Jo's blood. One was aspirin and the other Benadryl. Benadryl is an antihistamine. Flo Jo had histamines produced in her body. She was congested. She took Benadryl to relive her congestion. Why was it not clear that Flo Jo took Benadryl because she experienced congestion from mucus? I had many conversations with the coroner's office. "Look at the lungs," I pleaded. "Examine the contents of her stomach." I was told that this was not necessary. I wondered why not.

If dairy products, particularly cheese, were found in her stomach, this could at the very least confirm the suspicion of a violent histological reaction to CASEIN, the powerful allergen. Page three of the autopsy contains the smoking gun:

Digestive System

"The stomach contains 250 cc of digested material including some yellow flecks, possibly cheese."

Digested material?

Had it been digested it would not have been recognizable!

Two hundred and fifty cubic centimeters of material, almost TEN hours later!

Was Flo Jo Congested?

Here is what the autopsy reveals about Flo Jo's internal organs:

Respiratory System

"The lobes of the lungs are light-pink-to-dark-purple with marked congestion and a large amount of frothy fluid exuding with pressure. The lumen of the tracheobronchial tree contains mucus and frothy fluid." Flo Jo's lungs were congested. She could not breathe.

Other Body Organs - All Congested

"The small and large bowels show congestion... the liver has a congested appearance... pancreas, congested appearance... the pyramids of the kidneys are congested... section shows marked acute congestion... cut sections of the adrenal glands show acute congestion... a large amount of frothy fluid is present in the larynx... cut sections of the thyroid gland show congestion... congestion is noted in the pancreas." ... On and on, organ after organ, filled with a glue produced by the body's defense to this powerful allergen and tenacious glue, *** CASEIN ***.

Closing Comments

Flo Jo's death was a tragedy. Her life was a symbol of inspiration to us all. From death she cries to us with a powerful message which the medical examiner missed. Such a message places suspicion and blame upon an industry who hired her to betray those who trusted her with the dairy message. Milk did Flo Jo's body no good at all. Milk and dairy products do no good for those who have asthmatic reactions to CASEIN. The medical examiner noted that those yellow flecks in her stomach were "possibly cheese." The medical examiner did not consider the fact that Benadryl was taken by Flo Jo to battle congestion. The medical examiner did not consider a link between the congestion in her internal organs to the Benadryl or the common reaction to bovine proteins, particularly CASEIN, which represents eighty percent of all milk protein. In June of 1998, TIME Magazine disparaged Robert Cohen for daring to say that milk protein was dangerous. Flo Jo paid for her ignorance with her precious and beautiful life. Please spread this message so that others might be spared a similar horror. After Flo Jo's death, William Rhoden of the New York Times wrote:

Flo Jo ran like the wind; critics said she was wind aided. Flo Jo ran with power; they said it was drug aided. Flo Jo ran with style; critics said that with six-inch fingernails and bodysuits, her career was a triumph of style over substance. Now Florence Griffith Joyner is gone, dead at the age of 38, and there is nothing else to say.

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