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Boy Remains in New Year’s Eve Coma From Two Glasses of Rum

January 14, 1988

SEDRO WOOLLEY, Wash. (AP) _ A 15-year-old boy has been in a coma since New Year’s Eve, when he drank two eight-ounce glasses of 151-proof rum on a dare, his family says.

″We live for a little hope today, a little hope for tonight and hope for tomorrow,″ said Vicky Solomon, mother of Stephen Solomon.

Stephen was unconscious when he was brought to United General Hospital on Dec. 31 with a blood-alcohol level of 0.4.

Health officials say blood-alcohol levels as low as 0.3 can lead to coma and 0.35 can be fatal. A 0.1 reading is legal intoxication in Washington state.

The boy went to an unchaperoned New Year’s Eve party with teen-age friends. Mrs. Solomon said her son took a dare and quickly drank two glasses, or at least 16 ounces of the rum, which is 75 percent alcohol.

Stephen passed out, and his friends tried to wake him and give him a shower, then left him to sleep, his mother said. They called for help when they checked him 20 minutes later and found he was not breathing, Mrs. Solomon said.

Teen-agers need to know the warning signs of alcohol poisoning, which happens quickly and can lead to cardiac and respiratory arrest, said Dr. Robert Seward, the Solomons’ physician.

″Start CPR immediately and call 911 or an emergency number,″ he said. ″We suspect that if the paramedics had gotten to him sooner he wouldn’t be in as much trouble as he is in now.″

Brain damage generally results if the brain is without oxygen for four to five minutes, Seward said. Stephen has shown some improvement, but doctors do not know how much he will improve, the doctor said.

Mrs. Solomon and her husband, Richard, who live in this town 65 miles north of Seattle, said they often spoke about the hazards of alcohol with their son. His friends often drank and smoked, but their son tended to stay away from alcohol and cigarettes, they said.

″He had ideas and goals of his own which did not include drugs or alcohol,″ Mrs. Solomon said. ″He wanted to go to college. He wanted more out of life than he had now.″

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