Asphyxiation from Alcohol Poisoning
He walked home drunk, not feeling well, and almost made it home. Almost but not quite.
2 houses away from his home he was found dead on the pavement the next morning: Dead from asphyxiation - he choked on his vomit and died right there on the ground
The young man was named Kyle, and he was one of my sons good friends. Kyle was in his 30's, smart, funny and reliable - but he also had a problem: Kyle liked to drink.
I never saw Kyle drink anything but beer, but even beer, when drank in excess, can cause alcohol poisoning and lead to death. Such a sad and tragic way for this young mans life to end. Kyle died just 3 days ago on Sept. 23, 2011. He was only 32 years old.
The effects of alcohol on the body
Critical Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning
If you are reading this because you drink, or have a friend or family member that drinks, please read on. Perhaps something in this article may help you think twice about taking those next 2 drinks. Or 3 - or 4. I always try to help people, and by writing about Kyle perhaps someone elses life may be helped - and another death averted.
If you are with someone that has drank too much, never ever leave them alone. Don't agree with them that they are "OK". People that are drunk may say anything to convince you they are "OK". Take car keys away from them and don't let them go off driving into the street putting themselves and other peoples lives into danger. So what if they get mad at you. You may save their lives or someone elses in the process.
If you see the following symptoms in a persons that has been drinking, they may have alcohol poisoning and need medical attention:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or person cannot be roused.
- Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute).
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness.
What Can Happen to Someone With Alcohol Poisoning That Goes Untreated?
In Kyle's case, he made it appear that he was "well enough" to walk home. But he had told people before he left that he was not feeling well. Kyle's friends probably thought he as OK, and that he would "walk" off his drunkenness. Bad mistake, because even though Kyle was able to walk, he ended up falling down, throwing up and choked on his own vomit. Since he was alone, there was no one to help him, no one to pick him up or call an ambulance for him.
If a drunk person is not treated for alcohol poisoning the following things can occur:
- The person can choke on his or her own vomit.
- The persons breathing can become slow, irregular, or stop.
- The heart starts beating irregularly or stops.
- The person can get Hypothermia (or low body temperature).
- Hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar) can lead to seizures.
- If untreated severe dehydration from vomiting can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, or death.
My Personal Experience with Alcohol Poisoning
I have personally been with and picked up someone that had alcohol poisoning. I refused to leave their side and did not leave until someone else was there to watch that person.They were vomiting a lot, and I was worried that they would choke or pass out. Even though that person was saying it was OK to leave, I didn't. And now after Kyle's death, I am glad I didn't.
I will miss Kyle and I know my son will too. He spent many days at my house and I will miss that my son is missing his friend. I am devastated for Kyles family, and the trauma they must have felt at finding him like that the next morning. I hope that by sharing this that it saves someone else's life. Please don't ever leave a drunk person alone. Even if they insist they are OK. Alcohol can poison your system just like any other poison, and can lead to death. If you are unsure how sick your friend or family member is call 911. So what if they are embarrassed the next day. Better to be embarrassed than wind up dead on the sidewalk, sick and alone.
RIP Kyle. This hub is dedicated to you.
(Dorsi Diaz is a freelance writer and publisher on the internet. She writes about human interest stories, health, finance, frugal living and life)
How to Handle Alcohol Poisoning
What Is Alcohol Poisoning? (College Health Guru)
A really good site to read more about alcohol poisoning
- Alcohol Overdose Deaths on Campus - I Speak of Dreams
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Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 25, 2011:
@Heather) I don't like alcohol at all. I have seen so many lives destroyed because of it. I hope your family can find some kind of peace this holiday. I know how much it hurts to lose someone you love, especially in such an unexpected and tragic way. My heart goes out to you and your family and your brothers fiance.
Heather on November 23, 2011:
Thank you... I am sorry for you & your sons loss as well. I think its very important that people understand the risk you take when you are drinking. What I have realized is that although you are young and healthy that does not give you a free pass. Michael had a BAC of .16 on the night of his bachelor party. Because of his weight and age that was not enough to kill him. Michael surrounded himself with his friends that loved him but ended up leaving early and going to the hotel to sleep. He passed out on his back and that was enough to kill him. If you are going to drink take precautions. Realize countless people have died while being under the influence. And when you risk your own life your also leaving the door open for your family & friends to be destroyed as well. I cry everyday for my parents, myself and for my brother.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 22, 2011:
@Heather) Oh Heather God bless you. I am so sorry about your brother. This is such a tragedy. My prayers go out to you and your family. It's so important for people that have drank not too much not to be left alone. My deepest sympathies.
Heather on November 21, 2011:
My brother died October 9th of this year. He was a recovering alcoholic. On his bachelor party he went to Atlantic City and drank 2x the legal drinking and driving limit. He got lost from his friends and went back to his room. He fell asleep on his back and choked to death on his vomit. He was a 28 year old successful professional who was going to marry his long time girlfriend in 3 short weeks.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 12, 2011:
Thank you Lyric. Yes alcohol CAN kill as we see in Kyles case. I miss him.
Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on October 10, 2011:
Dorst, what a sad story. It shows that even alcohol kills. Many drinkers feel that it doesn't but it does. My heart goes out to your son and your son's friend. Howfully people can read this and find help. Well done and voted up.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 10, 2011:
Thank you Melovvy. That sounds like a great book you wrote. What is the name of it? Glad to hear you know some people in recovery - it can be done. It's hard but people can turn their life around. Thanks for reading.
Yvonne Spence from UK on October 07, 2011:
Hi Dorsi, I’m sorry to read of the loss of your son’s friend. This is a subject that, as you and Jama write, is often glamourised. No one starts drinking thinking that they will end up this way. Where I grew up it was also seen as manly, and I know of many whose lives who have been taken by alcohol - either they are dead now or addicted. But I think too that heavy drinking starts because a person feels lacking in some way and attempts to compensate for that, and that is why it seems so attractive.
Several years ago I felt so frustrated with now Scottish literature then portrayed the drinking culture that I wrote a novel showing the other side of it. It opens with the main character having been sick in her sleep - but eventually it has a happy outcome, as I also feel it is important to show that people can overcome this. Happily I also know several people who have.
Thank you for this hub, it is an important subject - though I couldn’t bring myself to watch the videos.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 07, 2011:
@Jama) Thank you for reading about Kyle. Yes it's a shame how alcohol is "glamorized". I don't drink at all anymore,and don't miss it a bit. Being hungover and sick was not "fun" at all.
@Nell)That is so sad. Another reason NOT to drink - it's even dangerous just going to bed with too much alcohol in your system. How sad. Thanks for your comment Nell.
Nell Rose from England on October 06, 2011:
Hi, first of all let me just say how sorry I am, this must have been devastating, I also know someone this happened to, only he got home and got into bed, then choked, my friends son also did this and is now comatose in hospital with brain damage, and he will never come out of it, if you have too much alcohol it can also be so much it overtakes the volume of blood in the body, such a sad way to die, and if someone only went into schools and told the kids this before they started drinking then someone in their thirties would know for many years before hand, cheers nell
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on October 04, 2011:
My sympathies to you and your son on your unnecessary loss. Thanks to awareness programs in public schools and on TV and the internet, we've been alerted to the dangers of excessive consumption of alcohol.
Yet those who make, sell, and advertise it continue to glamorize drinking as a "fun" experience. How many more Kyles will die before (mostly young) people "get" that drinking to excess ISN'T "fun" and CAN be lethal?
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on October 04, 2011:
@Cari and Hello,Hello) Yes it's very sad and tragic. Kyles "viewing" was last night and his funeral was today.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 02, 2011:
The youngster don't realize what they are doing to themselves. Well written hub.
Cari Jean from Bismarck, ND on October 01, 2011:
So sorry to hear about your son's friend. Hopefully through his tragic experience, many others can learn and lives will be saved. Thanks so much for sharing.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 30, 2011:
@truthfornow) Thanks and yes I hope it helps someone else.
Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on September 29, 2011:
I think you have done a great job of taking something sad and turning it into a lesson for others. You offer some practical advice about how to save the lives of those we care about ~ a great way to honor Kyle's memory.
kerlynb from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^ on September 28, 2011:
"Take car keys away from them and don't let them go off driving into the street putting themselves and other peoples lives into danger." - A great tip that can save lives. Thanks for this.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 28, 2011:
@steph) Yes very sad. Every day I wake up and think of Kyle. He was always around and it's hard to imagine we will never seem him again. I'm sure that morning he woke up that he never thought it would be his last day on earth. The wonderful thing about us being able to write about things like this though Steph is that we have the ability to help someone else through what we write. I hope that someone that reads this takes heed and makes better decisions regarding alcohol.
Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on September 28, 2011:
Dorsi, what a sad hub. Sad for Kyle. Sad for many others that have died - or will die - like him due to alcohol poisoning. Very informative and I believe it will help save someone's life.
Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on September 27, 2011:
@Jenna) I agree. Thanks for stopping by.
@Nspeel)Thank you. Yes it's very sad.
@missolive)Thank you for reading and the comment.
Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on September 26, 2011:
very informative, thank you for writing about such an important issue.
Nspeel from Myrtle Beach on September 26, 2011:
Sad... Its rediculous what people do for fun. I am sure his night would have been much funner if he would have controlled his drinking and been able to wake up the next morning. I have done my share of drinking but have never had an oops moment. I am sorry to hear this story but it still deserves voted up and useful, sad but shared thank you.
Jenna Pope from Southern California on September 26, 2011:
How said for this young man. Kids just don't realize how lethal alcohol can be. My heart goes out to his friends and family.