Student pens essay on the perils of binge drinking after doctors told her she might be 'brain dead'

Hanna Lottritz, a student at the University of Nevada, wrote an essay describing the experience she had before and after being pronounced "brain dead" after binge drinking last summer.
Jan 14, 2016

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  • National statistics indicate when Americans under the age of 21 drink, it's in the form of binge drinks — and a blog post penned by a student that's going viral details how perilous the activity can be.

  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism classifies binge drinking as a pattern of alcohol consumption "that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent or above."

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that typically happens when men consume five or more drinks, women four or more, in about two hours.

  • CDC indicated 90 percent of alcohol drank by people under 21 is in the form of binge drinks.

  • And Hanna Lottritz, a University of Nevada student, recounted on her blog her experiences last summer coming out of a 24-hour coma because of overdrinking.

  • "I was in critical condition, suffering from acute respiratory failure and acute alcohol intoxication. My blood alcohol concentration was .41 when I arrived at the hospital, five times over the legal limit," Lottritz's piece read, reposted on The Huffington Post. "The doctors thought I was brain dead because I was completely unresponsive. My pupils were sluggishly reactive, I had no corneal reflex and I wasn't responding to verbal or painful stimuli."

  • That all happened after Lottritz chugged whiskey in a competition at a concert and collapsed, soon flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada.

  • When Lottritz awoke from the coma, she had tubes down her throat, with arms restrained, she wrote in the post.

  • Dark conversation between Lottritz and doctors frightened the student the most, she wrote.

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  • "They told me that they didn't think I would make it through the night," the post read. "They asked me if I was trying to kill myself by drinking so much. This question hit me the hardest."

  • She detailed her eyes opened to the seriousness of being irresponsible with alcohol in the hospital bed in the Intensive Care Unit.

  • "The next day when I was discharged from the hospital, I realized that the way I looked at alcohol would be changed forever," Lottritz wrote.

  • Time reported all that inspired Lottritz to pen the post on her 21st birthday.

  • Posted Jan. 6, Lottritz's recount went viral, garnering 350,000 page views in the last few days, the Reno Gazette-Journal wrote.

  • So what's the student's motivation to tell her personal story?

  • Lottritz told RGJ she hopes her experience with binge drinking "could prevent even one person from going through what she and her family did when doctors expected her to die."

  • The post indicated the same.

  • "I am writing this because I didn't realize the importance of drinking responsibly until I was waking up from a coma, and I don't want anyone to go through what my family and I went through," Lottritz wrote in her post. "I ask that you share this with your friends, family or anyone who may benefit from reading this."

  • The Daily Mail reported alcohol poisoning kills six people in the U.S. each day.

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Payton Davis is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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