Drinking assessment backed

A teen drinking 24 beers in two hours would end up in a life-threatening coma, a toxicologist says - backing a doctor's first assessment of an Arrowtown teen with a brain bleed.

University of Otago National Poisons Centre toxicologist Leo Schep calculated the effect of consuming the beers based on a body weight and alcohol percentage calculation, taking drinking tolerance into consideration. The query was put to Mr Schep after The Southland Times was given a copy of a clinical review into the treatment of Alex Cottier, who collapsed with a potentially lethal brain bleed at the Queenstown rugby seven-a-side tournament in January. The review followed a Southland Times article airing Alex's mother Vanessa's serious concerns over delays in her son's treatment.

The review says a doctor's initial assessment when Alex was admitted to Queenstown's Lakes District Hospital was that "he had drunk a 24 pack of beer over the preceding two hours . . . then . . . slumped over and became unresponsive."

Mrs Cottier said the assumption that Alex was drunk, rather than suffering from a potentially lethal brain bleed, led to a delay of almost a full day before he was properly treated.

The review says "the initial approach of supportive therapy for alcohol intoxication was reasonable". grant.bryant@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times