The tragic and untimely death of Ensa Cosby has medical experts shaking their heads. The 44-year-old second youngest of comedian Bill Cosby’s five children, reportedly died February 23 from renal disease, which seems unusual, they say.
“If she was an 85-year-old woman, I would not be surprised,” Dr. Alexander Gershman, a urologist from University of California-Los Angeles and director of the Institute for Advanced Urology tells Newsmax.
“But a 44-year-old should not die from renal or kidney failure. We have dialysis to deal with kidney failure so it is very unusual for a woman of her age to die from this. There must have been some extenuating circumstances such as a reaction to a drug or a drug overdose.”
Gershman says that some acute infections such as strep throat or any type of infection that can cause the kidneys to shut down. But if Cosby was suffering from a chronic disease such a diabetes or lupus, she would have been monitored closely for any sign of renal failure.
Dr. Daniel H. Bessesen, an endocrinologist form Denver, agrees.
“This is very unusual,” he tells Newsmax. “Kidney failure is rarely the cause of death. It’s usually a heart attack or stroke that occurs when the kidneys are not functioning properly. At her age, something simply does not compute when we have dialysis to cope with renal failure which helps millions of sufferers.”
Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a renowned expert on autoimmune disease, adds that many details of Cosby’s death that have not been publicized.
“We certainly don’t have all the facts in this case,” he tells Newsmax. “There may have been complications that were not noted, to keep the cause of death simple.”
Gershman says she may have been suffering from IgA nephropathy, also called Berger’s disease — a kidney disease that occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin lodges in the kidneys.
There is no cure for IgA nephropathy, but certain medications can slow its course, according to the Mayo Clinic. The disease can lead to chronic kidney disease, in which case permanent dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to sustain life.
“This is an autoimmune disease which is very difficult to treat,” says Gershman, adding that chemotherapy and immune system suppressants are used to keep the disease under control along with dialysis if required.
Renal disease, also known as chronic kidney disease or chronic kidney failure, occurs when the kidneys begin to lose their function. The kidneys play a vital role in the body’s natural filtration process, removing waste and excess fluid from the blood, which are excreted in urine.
The disease can accelerate when dangerous levels of fluid and waste build up over time. Without dialysis, a treatment that artificially filters the blood, the disease can progress to kidney failure and be deadly.
People who develop renal failure typically have another health condition that results in impaired kidney function, like diabetes, high blood pressure, or polycystic disease.
Dr. Robert Waldman, an internist and nephrologist from Marina del Rey, Calif., tells Newsmax that it is difficult for some patients to be compliant with the demands of dialysis.
“When someone has a chronic kidney disease it makes them more susceptible to vascular disease of all types so it is imperative that they take excellent care of themselves, eating properly, keeping their blood pressure under control and going for dialysis treatments regularly,” he says.
“Often what I call the ‘young and the restless’ think they can skip treatments and when nothing happens, they feel they are immune to the disease and skip some more. Then bam, something happens. I have seen this so many times in my career. The dialysis gets old, they are frustrated, and give up.
“It’s actually a very hot topic in medical circles when a person dies from complications of kidney failure. Was it case of accidental non-compliance or did the person choose simply to end their life by stopping their treatment? It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, dialysis is not an easy road for anyone.”
Cosby was a vocal supporter of her 80-year-old father during his recent sexual assault trial, following allegations by dozens of women who claimed that the comedian had drugged sexually assaulted them. In a statement released last year, Ensa said her father had been “publicly lynched in the media.”
Cosby’s spokesperson Andrew Wyatt confirmed her death in a statement: ‘Please keep the Cosby family in your prayers, and give them peace at this time.”
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