Believe me , I like most alcoholics. They are generally nice , mellow people who would rather hurt themselves then other people . The problem ,they sometimes stop being nice.
Maybe it’s the time of the year or what but lately I have seen several patients with alcohol intoxication either to the point of killing their own selves or to the point of killing other people .
The ones who try to kill other people end up at psyche or jail but the ones who are killing themselves end up in ICU and under my care.
A 28 yo man drank himself to the point of coma . He stopped breathing for an unknown length of time . When he came to us he had diffuse brain ischemia including the frontal lobes. which is where our personality and executive function lies. Frontal lobes makes us humans . He needed to be intubated , started on pressers , and dialysis. Two weeks later he was still the same except being off pressers. Because of the brain ischemia we had a long discussion with his family which included a girlfriend . Btw he is an illegal immigrant whose parents were unable to come to USA so far . We did provide them the papers for visa etc. The girl friend cried throughout the meeting ,telling us about their two year old daughter and how they believed that he will recover completely and walk out of the hospital. Apparently they had been praying hard too . I could not help but ponder over the possibility that the daughter must have existed two week earlier too . I mean it’s a fair conclusion that the girlfriend and daughter were existent at the time of his inbibement of copious amount of alcohol. Now of course me or the other doctors will not do anything which the family does not want but the patients prognosis is basically zero and we are spending millions of dollars and thousands of hours to keep him alive in a vegetative state .
There is another patient who has pancreatitis from drinking alcohol. He is in his twenty’s.
His family is really remarkable . They tell me that the patient is basically a superhuman as far as his tolerance of alcohol is concerned . Therefore when he kept drinking to stupor everyday for two , three weeks they did not think it was a problem . He had done that many times before . “His father was like this too”
” Is his father alive ”
” no , he passed away”
Perhaps the family was confusing him with a certain kryptonian prince. Anyways , this time he ended up with severe pancreatitis and multi organ failure . Intubated , on dialysis and on top of everything ,in delirium tremens. We have no way of judging his mental status unti he comes out of dt’s but atleast his CT brain does not look as bad .
Of course he has three little girls and a wife.btw this one is a white dude who I think owns his own business, so this problem does not restrict to non whites.
THis reminds me of another pancreatitis patient who left against medical advice from ICU , continued to drink alcohol and came back to hospital next day just to die. Now, I have a problem with patients dying under my care. But Of course there is no problem which a couple of drinks can’t fix. No I didn’t say that.
That patient left with his family , fully coherent and alert, probably bought vodka on his way home and drank till he could Not . I know sometimes you cannot stop a guy from drinking but maybe you, the family member need to try harder, especially when somebody just walked out of ICU .
Another Patient I saw I during my training . A young girl who came in with alcoholic fulminant liver failure . Her family swore that her boyfriend has given her some poison , though they agreed that she does like to drink a lot “but not too much “. Any ways we never found any poison but her blood was pretty much pure alcohol . She died too inspite of emergent dialysis and everything possible which could be thrown her way.
So what is it with alcohol ?This drug kills more people every year then all the illegal drugs combined . Is it because people don’t think it is as dangerous . Is it just some Darwinian process.