by DR THEMI GARAGOUNIS
Picture this: At midday, teenagers on a north coast beach gathered around a fourteen year-old who had collapsed and face-planted into the sand.
The entire group was staring blankly at her; I could hear one of them saying “she’s okay, she’s just had too much to drink.”
One of the group even took a photo of the girl with an iPhone to post it online and show all her friends that she had reached FUBAR status. FUBAR – that’s F****D UP BEYOND ALL RECOGNITION or REPAIR.
It made me think to myself, “Who needs enemies when you have friends like these?“
At that point my wife turned to me and said “you better get over there quick smart and see if she actually is okay”. These idiots are going to get this girl killed we both thought.
When I arrived at the scene, the girl was unconscious. I could hardly detect her pulse and a copious amount of pink fluid was dribbling out of her mouth. I asked her friends what she had taken.
“Nothing”, one screamed back at me. Upset at the accusation.
This girl too was under the influence. She swayed from side to side trying to maintain her balance and composure.
A boy in the crowd came forward and told me that the unconscious girl had downed a litre and half of Red Bull and vodka from a plastic coke bottle. All in the last 30 minutes.
This is an incredible amount of alcohol and caffeine to ingest in a 30-minute period. It can potentially be fatal. At these quantities alcohol suppresses breathing and the individual usually develops an acute inflammation of their stomach lining. In response, your body tries to expel all the alcohol via vomiting.
The real danger, however, is that at this level of consciousness you can aspirate the vomit directly into your lungs and burn them beyond all repair or recovery. This was the risk that this girl was facing.
I asked another friend of hers, “has any one called her mother?”
“Yes we have”, they answered. Lying.
In my book? Unacceptable behaviour when it comes to being a friend.
But why is it that no one did anything to help this girl?
Clearly they had not called her mother out of fear… or perhaps out of ignorance at the severity of the girl’s condition. Was it because they didn’t know what to do or was it that they were all off their faces on alcohol and other substances? Whatever the case, it was unacceptable behaviour when it comes to being a friend.
Luckily for her , someone was there to instigate basic life support measures while we waited for the ambulance.
Countless individuals do not get this opportunity. And in most cases the physical distress of these individuals goes unnoticed until it is too late to save them. You only have three minute to act between collapse, cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest before a friend can end up with irreversible brain damage or, worse still, dead.
If you are a parent of a teenager, if you spend time with young people or you are a young person who drinks then you must know this: you have to act quickly.