Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post
Tajma Hartsell says she is grateful to the West Rowan High School staff for helping save her daughter, Raquel, who suffered a heart attack early this week.
But she is angry about suggestions that drug use might be involved, and so far, tests have not found any drugs, she said.
School officials and emergency medical personnel revived the 16-year-old after her heart stopped Monday morning in class.
But Raquel’s mother said she is upset about rumors that drug use may have caused the heart attack. The Woodleaf resident said she would rather spend her time beside her daughter’s hospital bed than have to defend her.
“What she needs is prayers and for people to support her,” she said.
Since Monday, the family has remained at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where Raquel continues to undergo tests they hope will tell them what caused her heart to stop. Doctors will run more tests on Raquel today, including scans of her brain and heart.
Hartsell said doctors have called what happened to her daughter a “sudden death incident.”
“They don’t know why” it happened, she said. “As of right now, her toxicology reports are negative.”
Tajma said she’s also upset about media attention surrounding the incident and concerned about investigators indicating a possible connection to drug use without concrete information.
“I don’t know why they would do that,” she said.
She said, however, that she hopes investigators, “get to the bottom of it.”
As far as she knows, Hartsell said, Raquel didn’t take anything, including drugs.
Her daughter knows little about what happened, her mother added. The only thing Raquel remembers is feeling sick that day. She doesn’t remember losing consciousness or arriving at the hospital.
“She doesn’t remember anything. She’s confused about where she is,” Hartsell said.
Raquel’s twin sister, Rebecca, is also having a difficult time.
“I’m very, very worried,” Rebecca said. “I don’t think she really knows what’s going on.”
She is also mad about rumors surrounding the situation. “They don’t know what happened,” Rebecca said.
Hartsell said the focus should be on children and teens who do obtain drugs and how they do it.
She encourages parents to lock up their medications. Throughout the school year, Hartsell said, she’s been in contact with West Rowan officials about “kids passing out pills at school.”
However, she said, that’s hard to prove.
The Hartsells are getting support from friends, family and Hartsell’s co-workers at Food Lion. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating.

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