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WFU staff member, alumna dies of undetermined cause

By Jacob McConnico
336.758.5237
March 22, 2004

Mary Elizabeth Tietjen, 30, a staff member in the Wake Forest University biology department and a 2002 graduate of the university, was declared dead at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center March 22 after being transported to the hospital from Winston Hall where she had been found unconscious in her office around 11:35 a.m.

She was pronounced dead at the medical center during the early afternoon. An autopsy will be performed.

“At this point there is no reason to believe there were suspicious circumstances surrounding her death,” said Regina Lawson, chief of Wake Forest University Police. “We are awaiting the results of the medical examiner’s report.”

University Police are investigating her death.

Tietjen was found in her second-floor office around 11:35 a.m. by a member of the biology department faculty. The faculty member began to administer CPR and the University Police department was contacted.

Police officers arrived along with members of the university’s Safety Response Team and continued to administer CPR. The officers attempted to revive Tietjen with portable defibrillators, but she was not responsive.

Members of Forsyth County Emergency Medical Services and officers from the Winston-Salem Fire Department arrived at Winston Hall shortly after University Police and continued unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate Tietjen. She was transported by Forsyth County EMS to the medical center where medical personnel made additional attempts to revive her.

Tietjen earned a Master of Science degree in molecular and cellular pathobiology from the university in August 2002. She had been working in the university’s biology department as a core curriculum preparator, responsible for preparing labs for students, since January 2003.


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