LSU fraternity pledge had .495 blood alcohol level at time of death

LSU fraternity pledge had extremely high blood alcohol level
Updated: Oct. 11, 2017 at 9:36 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Ten LSU students were booked Wednesday in connection with the hazing death of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver. Gruver was pledging Phi Delta Theta last month when he was found unresponsive at the fraternity house. He had reportedly been taking part in a drinking game called "Bible Study."

The East Baton Rouge coroner ruled his death an accident but says he died from acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration. His blood alcohol level at the time of his death was .495. That's more than times times over the legal limit.

LSU Health Critical Care physician Dr. David Welsh didn't treat Gruver, but he explained that level of intoxication to us.

"It depends on how much he weighed, what his metabolism was like, what his history of drinking was, but you can safely assume that over say a two hour period he consumed probably around 20 or more drinks," said Welsh.

Welsh says Gruver likely aspirated on his own vomit.

"That level is well beyond dramatic intoxication, that is the range where we call alcohol poisoning, at that point you're not only confused and clumsy and making bad judgments, you're likely comatose, you may stop breathing, you're not able to protect your airway and you frequently aspirate, seizures are not uncommon as well," said Welsh.

The Executive Director of the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse for Greater New Orleans said when it comes to warning your children about the dangers of binge drinking, parents should start those messages as soon as a child learns to talk.

"As soon as they can understand what you're saying, you start with, in early childhood, you're in charge of your body, you teach them about being healthy, you teach them that no one can force them to do anything. This goes along with all of the prevention education things that you want to do with your children, that no one can touch them, no one can force them to eat or drink anything," said Executive Director Joyce Bracey.

Then, get more specific as they get older.

"I know I've got teenagers, I've got a freshman in college and for me, one thing that we have, is where my kids know that if they call me from anywhere they are and tell me, 'Mom I feel like I'm going to throw up,' I will stop what I am doing and come get them. It's not no questions asked, because we talk about everything, but it's you're not going to get in trouble," said Bracey.

Bracey says it's also important to teach your children about the real consequences of binge drinking.

"It's deadly, and I think, these 10, in essence, children or young adults who are responsible for this boy's death are never going to get over this, and so we also want to teach our children how to treat others, how to protect other people and what about all the other boys who were in that room and didn't do anything to stop it," said Bracey.

Bracey also recommends teaching your children what's called peer refusal skills. That's role playing with your child ways they can say no to their friends in a way that doesn't embarrass them. For example, if a child is offered drugs, he can say "I can't. My Mom drug tests me."

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