Merrill Lynch Intern Cause of Death Could Have Been Exhaustion Related

Merrill Lynch Intern Cause of Death Could Have Been Exhaustion Related

In the Summer Merril Lynch attracted a lot of attention after one of their interns who had been working extremely long hours was found dead in his shower.
21-year-old Moritz Erhardt died on August the 15th this year in his temporary accommodation.
The 21-year-old died of an epileptic fit that could have been triggered by working ‘exceptional’ hours at a top investment bank an inquest heard.
The inquest held at Poplar Coroner’s Court heard that the German intern had been taking epilepsy medication but did not tell anyone at the bank about his condition.
The coroner Mary Hassell recorded a verdict of natural causes and said that Mr Erhardt had died after an epileptic seizure even though he was taking his medication regularly which could have happened as a result of fatigue.
She told the inquest: ‘Unfortunately although many people live with epilepsy and go on to live to old age sometimes it still causes death very suddenly in this way and sometimes that happens even with a person as young and as fit Moritz was.’
She continued: ‘One of the triggers for epilepsy is exhaustion and it may be that because Moritz had been working so hard his fatigue was a trigger for the seizure that killed him.
‘But that’s only a possibility and I don’t want his family to go away with the thought that it was something that Moritz did that causes his death. He was a young man living life to the full and he was clearly enjoying his time in London and whilst it’s possible that fatigue bought about the fatal seizure it is also possible that it just happened. And it is something that does just happen.’
Mr Erdhart had never complained about the hours he worked or feeling unwell and the day before his death he seemed to be fine the court heard.
His parents had noticed that Moritz had been working through the night after they received emails from him at around 5am or 6am.
Juergen Schroeder Mr Erhardt’s development officer at Merrill Lynch said he was ‘very motivated very confident’ and also added that he was ‘very humble very down-to-earth.’
He told the court that he had never known that Mr Erhardt was unwell and said that in a health questionnaire Mr Erdhardt said that he did not have any medical conditions and was not taking any medication.
He informed the inquest that it was difficult to know the hours that Moritz was working and said that most interns worked long hours adding ‘I think interns in general do work long hours and sometimes past midnight.’
He said ‘I would say it’s not only the case at Bank of America Merrill Lynch – it’s the case at most banks in London it’s the case in Germany it’s the case in I think most parts of the world as well.’
He said that interns weren’t just staying late because of the workload demands but the peer pressure and competition between ambitious employees to work longer hours than each other.
‘I don’t think necessarily that on each and every project there’s an expectation to always stay late. I think there’s more an expectation a general expectation for our profession and you know about that before you join an investment bank in terms of what you expect from work hours.’
The court were told that the day before Mr Erhardt’s death Mr Schroeder had ‘hinted’ in a conversation that he would be offered a job at Merrill Lynch. The day that Mr Erhardt was found dead Mr Shroeder was called by human resources asking where the student was.
He saw that he was not at his desk and his computer was off he was then told by another intern that they had been trying to get through to Mr Erhardt who had missed a lunchtime intern event.
Mr Schroeder told the court he thought it was ‘out of character’.
‘That was the point that I got slightly concerned and worried about him.’
The staff found out where Mr Erhardt lived and how they could get in. When they got to his house wardens at the accommodation helped them get into Moritz’s room where the lights were off and the blinds were down.
They heard the shower running and found Mr Erhardt in the shower.
‘We weren’t sure whether he was still alive or whether he was just unconscious’ Mr Schroeder said.
Paramedics attended the flat and check Mr Erhardt’s vital signs and he was declared dead at 8.34pm on August 15.
Coroner Mary Hassell asked him how Mr Erhardt coped with his workload said: ‘I was not very concerned about Moritz and the way he coped with his work.’
‘He seems from the feedback I got very efficient and very structured and also relaxed very relaxed.
‘He was not the type of person who would show any signs of stress.’
Mr Erhardt’s mentor at Merrill Lynch said: ‘He was an outstanding intern but I think the other thing that’s very important is he was an outstanding human and individual.
‘He was extremely humble he had everything going for him he had every positive quality you could think of. He loved his work that was clear.’
Mr Erhardt’s parents did not comment as they left the inquest.
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