What the Bank of America Intern's Death Can Teach us About Workplace Health

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—The shocking news of the death of 21-year old Bank of America intern Moritz Erhardt ran across newsfeeds earlier this week. Erhardt was a student at the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany and had just completed a study abroad semester at the University of Michigan in May.

After studying abroad, he landed his internship in London. His internship was to be seven weeks. That internship led him to work days on end pushing the limits of his body. He was probably not even aware at the time exactly how at risk he really was.

He was found unconscious in his shower after suffering a seizure, and pronounced dead at the scene. When he got in the shower, he had been working for 72-consecutive hours.

Moritz's story is a topic of discussion on wallstreetoasis.com, but more than a speculative discussion that is geared around, "Can you believe someone died?" Maybe, it is time to examine health. Moritz Erhardt was put in a situation where he was working multiple days in a row as an intern, because it is likely he was looking to graduate into a job that required him to do that on a consistent basis. It is not a secret that investment bankers work day and night, and there is a system in place to reward them with huge paydays.

However, at what point is it too far? At what point is a banker or a corporate lawyer at risk of dying from not sleeping and using stimulants to stay awake?

Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a cardiologist who founded the Connecticut-based Heart MD Institute, stressed the importance of working in moderation.

"Sleep is vital for heart health as it is really the most important antioxidant in the body," he said. "Sleep helps the heart to recover, and a minimum of four to five hours per night should be maintained."