Heavy drinking session leaves girl in coma

By Chou Min-hung, Hsieh Wu-hsiung, and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporters, with Staff writer

Sat, Mar 02, 2013 - Page 3

A heavy drinking session involving three teenagers from Taoyuan County allegedly led to a first-grade junior-high school student lapsing into a coma after drinking nearly a whole bottle of liquor.

Two young men have been charged with coercion and causing serious bodily harm due to negligence.

The student, surnamed Chao (趙), was diagnosed with alcohol intoxication-induced coma and respiratory failure with suspected aspiration pneumonia.

She only scored three on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS).

A preliminary police investigation showed the drinking session occurred some time after 8pm on Feb. 22, when a male high-school dropout, surnamed Chiu (邱), and a male third-grade junior-high school student, surnamed Tsai (蔡), who lived in Chao’s neighborhood visited Chao at her home.

Police said that Chao was drinking beer alone when Chiu and Tsai visited. They accompanied her in drinking a 700ml bottle of beer.

Chiu then asked Tsai to go to his place and fetch a 600ml bottle of Kaoliang liquor (高梁酒) containing 53 percent alcohol by volume and invited Chao and her younger brother — a third-grade elementary-school student — to continue the party at his place, police said.

The police added that Chao was already walking in an unsteady manner on her way to Chiu’s house.

The three then continued drinking in Chiu’s room, where he took out two shot glasses and persuaded Tsai and Chao to start a drinking contest in which they had to empty their glasses at the same time, the police said.

Chiu, who did not touch a drop of the liquor, persistently urged the pair to drink, the police said, adding that Chao’s brother was in the room and witnessed the drinking.

According to Tsai’s statements, he did not drink much because Chiu poured most of the liquor into Chao’s glass and encouraged her to drink more despite her already being fairly drunk.

Shortly after they finished the bottle of liquor, Chao passed out on the bed, Tsai said, adding that he and Chiu then sent her home to rest.

Having failed to wake his sister, Chao’s brother subsequently called for help from neighbors.

After seeing Chao sweating and her lips turning blue, the neighbors immediately called the police and contacted Chao’s mother, who was working.

Emergency paramedics performed CPR on Chao, who showed no vital signs, before taking her to a nearby hospital.

Test readings for Chao’s blood-alcohol concentration were 483mg/100ml, which represent a breath alcohol level of 2.29mg/L.

According to a doctor who treated Chao, she had consumed too much alcohol for her liver to process, which brought on complications and caused damage to her brain stem.

“While the alcohol Chao consumed might have been out of her system the following day, she has yet to come out of the coma,” the doctor said, adding that as Chao is young, she has a chance of recovery and could still awake from the coma.

Meanwhile, members of Chao’s family cast doubt on Chiu’s and Tsai’s statements, saying that Chao would not have drunk that much without coercion.

Saying Chiu was attracted to Chao, Chao’s family members accused him of harboring bad intentions in inviting the girl over for a drink as he knew that her parents were not home.

The pair denied they had made Chao drink so much, and maintained that she was drinking to get rid of a bad mood.

Despite being present at the scene, Chao’s brother appeared to have suffered extreme shock and could not give a detailed account of what really happened, police said.