Mother who lost two children to SIDS finds hope in new genetic tests

WATCH: A Langley mother who lost two of her children to SIDS recently learned both had hidden heart disorders. Now a genetic testing clinic is helping one of her older children get treatment for the same mutation. Elaine Yong explains.

A Langley mother who lost two of her children to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome–or SIDS–is learning both babies had a hidden heart disorder.

One of her other children is now receiving treatment for the same mutation thanks to a genetic testing clinic.

Samantha Gore-Taylor’s firstborn son Gavin was not yet two months old when he died. Sudden Infant Death syndrome was the diagnosis, the leading cause of death among infants between a month and a year old.

“He had been up laughing and making everyone laugh the night before he went to bed,” she says. “It’s just complete disbelief–utter devastation.”

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Gore-Taylor had another son, Keagan, and everything seemed OK.

READ MORE: Too many infants still in unsafe sleeping conditions, says study

In 2011, daughter Maddyson came along and four months later she died in her sleep, another unimaginable loss.

“I had Gavin for two months, and I had Maddyson for four months and…my gift was the time that I had with them,” she says.

That’s when specialists started investigating and the launch of a province-wide inherited arrhythmia clinic in 2012 was instrumental.

Testing showed both babies actually had Long QT syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause rapid heartbeats, potentially leading to death.

It’s believed to be the cause of 10 to 15 per cent of SIDS cases. So far, about 20 families have been evaluated.

“In British Columbia that’s 100,000 people who are probably affected by some form or other of these conditions,” says Dr. Shu Sanatani of BC Children’s Hospital. “So there’s an opportunity to intervene with some relatively simple treatments.”

Gore-Taylor’s youngest daughter Kealy is fine, but her second son Keagan was just diagnosed with Long QT. However, with monitoring and medication, there’s hope for the future.

-with files from Elaine Yong


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