MIAMI, FL - Frederick Adams, a 23-year-old bank teller, froze to death last night after chewing a stick of Mega-Chill Mint brand chewing gum. He was rushed to the hospital but died as a result of severe hypothermia. The gum has been recalled by the manufacturer, but a lawsuit is pending.
According to witnesses, Adams was at a local bar with his best friend, Arthur Walker. According to Walker, the two were at the bar, attempting to pick up women.
"Fred was just about to make his move," said Walker, "when I reminded him that he just ate some garlic chicken. He told me it was no problem and pulled out this mint gum. He put it in his mouth and started chewing, and then suddenly he goes all stiff and falls over."
Spectators agreed with Walker's account, stating that cold steam puffed out of Adams' mouth, his whole body turned blue and covered with a thin coating of ice, and icicles formed on his hair and nose. Witnesses say that Adams whispered, "That's mega-chill cold" before he collapsed onto the dance floor.
Adams' friend Walker immediately called 911 on his cell phone. Paramedics arrived to administer treatment for hypothermia, but Adams could not be revived. Adams was rushed to the Saint Augustine Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead at 11:56 PM CST.
During a press conference the next morning, head surgeon Dr. Lawrence Sanagursky stated that Adams could not have been saved. "The damage was just too extensive. By the time Adams reached our emergency room, he was quite literally frozen solid. Perhaps if the paramedics had managed to pull the gum out of his mouth in time, we could have saved his life. This gum was just too minty."
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, since the Wrigley Company released Mega-Chill Mint brand chewing gum last month, there have been four hundred and twenty-two complaints of hypothermia as a result of the gum, but this is the first confirmed death. Adams' family has already hired the law firm of Scott and Everett to sue the Wrigley Company for wrongful death. Scott and Everett also plan to launch a class-action lawsuit on behalf of everyone injured from chewing Mega-Chill Mint gum.
Elisa Thorne, spokeswoman for Wrigley, insisted that the company was not at fault for Adams' death. She stated, "Adams was not an ignorant victim here. Our commercials clearly show the consequences of chewing Mega-Chill Mint gum by depicting a young man chewing the gum and being covered with ice. We even added a warning at the end of the commercial that states 'This chewing gum is dangerously cold.'"
But Charles Everett, lawyer who represents the family of Frederick Adams, insisted they didn't do enough, saying, "Our research shows that the vast majority of consumers did not take the commercial literally. They thought it was a metaphor for how pleasingly minty the gum is. Very few expected to actually be frozen by chewing it. As for the warning, most consumers surveyed mistook that statement as the slogan for the gum, not a health warning."
While not accepting liability, Wrigley has announced an immediate recall of Mega-Chill Mint brand chewing gum. The company also stated that they would reduce the amount of mint flavor in their gum in the future.