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Published: Friday, 4/15/2005

How to deal with alcohol poisoning

An April 2 story described a party where alcohol was furnished to minors. Part of the article's headline read, "Girl, 17, is saved from alcohol poisoning by quick-thinking mother." Also, an individual from the Ohio Department of Public Safety's investigative unit was reported as saying "the mother made her vomit, saving her from alcohol poisoning."

Fortunately, this girl survived. Not knowing the details, we are not in the position to comment directly on her care.

However, it is important to note - and Dr. Kris Brickman, director of emergency medicine at Medical College of Ohio, joins me in expressing these points - that inducing vomiting in a severely intoxicated individual is not recommended.

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed from the stomach. Therefore, vomiting is unlikely to be of significant benefit. More importantly, patients with acute alcohol poisoning are unable to protect their airway due to significant central nervous system depression, and are at high risk of aspirating stomach contents into their airway (choking), if they do vomit. In fact, aspiration is one of the most common causes of death in alcohol poisoning.

A few key points are worth remembering:

Patients who are unconscious should receive supportive care at a medical facility immediately. Call 911. "Sleeping it off" will not work.

Stay with the individual until medical personnel arrive.

Place the person in a seated position if possible; otherwise roll them onto their side so that if they do vomit, they are less likely to choke.

Do not make the individual vomit.

The best plan is prevention and responsible use. However, in the case of alcohol poisoning, please try to remember the above recommendations - especially seeking immediate medical care.

Martin Ohlinger

Asst. Prof. of Pharmacy Practice

University of Toledo

He carried the title of Supreme Pontiff, but millions knew him as a strong and loving man.

He captured our attention in 1978 when he was chosen the first Polish pope. We grew to love this man who lost his mother when he was just a little boy, lost his much older brother not very many years later, and then lost the father who appears to have lit the spark of mysticism, through prayer, in the boy's heart.

He loved us, all of us. We know that because his love was reciprocated, most notably during the "death watch." Oh, what must it be like to have people all over our troubled planet stop and watch and wait, all the time praying for a good death?

He began his papacy with the words, "Be not afraid." He spoke out against the Nazis, then against the communists - all the time unafraid.

He beseeched us to take on the mantle of personal holiness by corporal works of mercy.

He once said that America needs much prayer, lest it lose its soul. He had at his disposal the great wealth of the Vatican, yet he took nothing of this world with him except his good works. For those of us who believe, we yearn for union with the Creator that he has achieved - the sacred embrace.

He reached out to all the peoples of the Earth; therefore, it seems appropriate to end this letter with a quote by the Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore: "Death is not extinguishing the light, but blowing out the candle because the dawn has come."

JUDITH M. JUNGA

Lott Court

To paraphrase Denzel Washington in the motion picture Philadelphia, "explain to me like I'm a 4-year-old."

Why is the greatest democracy in the world living in such a climate of fear? Why does our President travel, surely at taxpayers' expense, to meet only with "yay-sayers" to explain his proposals?

Why does our leader seem reluctant to hold regular press conferences, and when he does do so, why does he orchestrate them, effectively blocking challenging questions? Why is he so afraid to hear the opposition that his administration actively works to impede the right of the people "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"?

Why is the "free press," so important to our Founding Fathers that it is mentioned in the First Amendment, allowing itself to be so intimidated that, in large part, we hear only half the story, the half the administration wants us to hear?

Why do TV "news" programs bend over backward to please the government, when they should be questioning its every move? Why are heroes like Richard Clarke, Scott Ritter, and countless others who spoke during the lead up to the Iraq "war" maligned in public for speaking the truth?

Why is it "unpatriotic" to question our elected officials when they try to pass legislation that will affect us for generations to come? Why, four years after the horror of 9/11, are we still giving up our freedoms in its name?

Democracy means "government in which the people hold the ruling power."

Being a democrat is defined as being "a person who believes in and supports democracy, a believer in rule by the people, equal rights for all, etc."

Why are we acting like we live in a dictatorship or kingdom, instead of questioning the powers that be?

Please, please, explain to me like I'm a 4-year-old.

J. UMLAUF

Waterville

In regard to Kendall Downs' March 31 commentary on Laura Bush's five-hour visit to Afghanistan, and comparing her visit to 10 Afghanistan women's trip to northwest Ohio for a month, it is amazing the administration would send the President's wife for a visit to Afghanistan.

Mrs. Bush could have supported the women's mission and learned about entrepreneurial skills they will take back to their country by visiting either Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, or Bowling Green. It might even have protected them from robbery in Cleveland.

I wonder where the priorities are for this administration. It is a cause of deep concern.

KAY BALL

Perrysburg

Again, the fallacy of "gun-free school safety zones" confirms the failure of "gun control." The deaths of 10 people in such a zone in Minnesota could have been prevented.

The first step toward such prevention is to come to grips with the reality that "gun-free" zones do nothing except disarm the innocent, leaving them prey for cold-hearted killers who could care less about murdering innocents, to say nothing of ignoring signs and laws banning firearms.

We have seen proof of this again and again, especially in Ohio. After passage of concealed carry, many ill-advised businesses posted signs banning firearms. A surprisingly large number of these places, including banks, have experienced an unusually high rate of firearms-related crime.

One solution: armed citizens, including teachers.

While some may object to this idea, it works very well in Israel, where on several occasions, armed teachers have prevented terrorists from accomplishing their goal of killing school children.

"Gun control" is not, has not been, and never will be the answer. One Ohio anti-gun organization touts that violence is never the solution.

It is this writer's position that justifiable violence is very effective at protecting the innocent.

Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens is a proven deterrent to violent criminal actions, and should be respected as part of the solution to this problem, for the children.

Bruce A. Beatty

Luckey

Bruce Beatty is arrogant and overbearing. That goes for every gun-toting person with him at his pistol-packing picnic. Accidents happen, and a gun has no place in a public park unless carried by a police officer.

I would never go to a park, nor would I take my grandchildren, where these gun-toting ignorant people were.

I hope when he goes to court they throw the book at him. His friends should have been arrested, too!

Joanne Watson

Oregon



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