Friday, September 9, 2011

Fatal festivities

Today evening, we SSB, a 18 year old boy in the casualty. Yesterday and today, it is a tribal festival here – called Karma. The specialty of the festival is the feasting that takes places especially the use of alcohol.

SSB has been having a good time with his friends on the occasion of the festival. Someone had told them about some new substance which will give you a kick if mixed along with alcohol. SSB was the first to try it out.

SSB is still unconsciousness. I hope he will wake up to tell us what this new substance is. SSB had come in quite late – about 6 hours since the accident occurred. His friends have told us that they have made him to vomit after which he started coughing violently and passed out.

After he came in, we have given him a stomach wash and put in activated charcoal. We could not attribute the symptoms to any specific poison – the ones we know here – organophosphorus, aluminium phosphide or zinc phosphide. The positive aspect is that his vitals are all fine.

Later in the day, I was talking about it to the other young men I know in the neighbourhood. They told me about this new thing – something sold in a bottle which is mixed along with alcohol to give a kick. I hope I’ll be able to find out what this new intoxicant is. I had noticed another patient who was brought quite sleepy couple of days back – it seems that he had also taken the same thing.

However, as I see SSB lying in the ICU – I wonder how often in the developing world we see festivals developing into tragedies for families. One of the major problems is alcohol. During Christmas and Onam in Kerala, each year record breaking amounts of alcohol are drunk. Well, that is another story.

We pray that SSB will regain consciousness and that we would able to talk him out of the habit. I hope that he did not go into an episode of hypoglycemia or hypoxia which has damaged his brain permanently. It is so sad to see young lives being lost for no reason.

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