Screening is key to prevention of silent killers – Medium Chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD)

This story is shared by a family who lost a child to MCAD – Ben’s family .

On February 19, 1998, Ben, a full-term, healthy and normal baby joined the Haygood family. During his brief 2 and half years of life, Ben was thought to be a typical child. He was growing and developing normally. Little did the family realize that a ‘silent killer’ was present in Ben. With no other signs such as fever, Ben became ill with vomiting. In just hours, Ben became unresponsive, stopped breathing and his heat stopped beating. Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The apparent healthy child had passed away within 12 hours of showing symptoms of illness.

After his death, doctor had speculated about the cause of Ben’s death for a month and though an autopsy, Haygood family learnt of Ben’s real cause of death, MCAD. Adding to their devastation, about a week after the diagnosis, they learnt that his disorder could have been detected at birth, or any other time before his fatal crisis, with a simple metabolic test. With an early diagnosis, Ben could have prevented the signs and symptoms of MCAD from manifesting

Did you know?

In Asia, every 1 in 660,562 children be born with MCAD.2

1) Families stories – Ben. Save babies through Screening foundation website.  Accessed June 18, 2020.

2) JHF Newborn Metabolic Screening Program in Centre of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (CUHK). Updated on 11 June 2013. Accessed June 18, 2020.