Sophia Mirza (1973–25 November 2005) was a woman in the United Kingdom who had chronic fatigue syndrome listed as a contributory cause of her death. An inquest was conducted to determine her cause of death, with the coroner ultimately recording it as acute anueric kidney failure due to dehydration, caused by CFS. Advocacy groups such as Invest in ME and the ME Association say that Mirza's inquest shows that CFS is a neurological illness.
|Died||25 November 2005 (aged 31–32)|
|Cause of death||Acute kidney failure directly attributed to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)|
|Known for||First death in the United Kingdom with CFS listed as a cause by coroner|
Mirza was born in the United Kingdom in 1973, one of four children to Irish/Asian parents. She visited Africa at the age of 19, traveling and working throughout the continent and was infected with malaria twice while there. At the age of 26 Mirza fell ill with what appeared to be the flu and shortly afterward became convalescent.
In July 2003 Mirza was forceably removed from her home and sectioned for two weeks by her doctors, who had come to believe her condition was psychosomatic, an action which her mother and sister believed severely worsened her condition. Her mother and sister stated that Mirza's physical symptoms were treated as a mental condition rather than a physical illness, and her caregiver mother was accused of 'enabling' her.
For two years following her sectioning, Mirza's health deteriorated. By September 2005 she took a significant turn for the worse, developing intolerance to most of the food she consumed, ear infection and severe pain, and was only able to consume a small amount of water. Mirza died on 25 November 2005. Initial autopsy results were inconclusive for her cause of death, but a second autopsy and the results of an inquest released on 13 June 2006 determined the cause of death to be "acute anueric kidney failure due to dehydration caused by CFS". Though initially reported by New Scientist as the first death worldwide ascribed to CFS, the magazine later acknowledged that other deaths had been directly attributed to CFS in the United States and Australia. Fatalities have been attributed to CFS or myalgic encephalomyelitis since at least 1956.
An official inquest was held to determine Mirza's cause of death, including an autopsy. The coroner concluded Mirza died as a result of CFS. Considered and eliminated were sleep apnea, drug use, and all other possible causes of death that could have been consistent with the autopsy results. A neuropathologist testified at the inquest that four out of five of Mirza's dorsal root ganglia showed abnormalities and evidence of dorsal root ganglionitis, inflammation of the dorsal root ganglion. A neurologist who consulted on the inquest stated the changes in the spinal cord may have been the cause of the symptoms Mirza experienced as part of her CFS.
- Hooper, R (16 June 2006). "First official UK death from chronic fatigue syndrome". New Scientist. Retrieved 11 September 2008.
- "Fatigue syndrome ruling welcomed". BBC. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2008.
- Spendiff, Sarah (8 March 2010). "Real life: The long goodbye". The Independent. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
- "I never imagined my sister would die". The Irish Times. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
- Carruthers, BM; et al. (2003). "Myalgic encephalomyalitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: Clinical working definition, diagnostic and treatment protocols". Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 11 (1): 7–36. doi:10.1300/J092v11n01_02.