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Water Intoxication Death
January 14, 2007 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Wii = "wee." Water-drinking radio contest ends in tragedy. Water intoxication caused the death of this mother. Radio pranks and contests are nothing new. Some have resulted in lawsuits, but I don't recall any resulting in death before.
posted by The Deej (92 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Jesus. What people get suckered into doing. What a stupid way to die. I almost said "go."
posted by etaoin at 7:26 AM on January 14, 2007


“We are awaiting information that will help explain how this tragic event occurred,” he said.

Uh, even I knew about water intoxication and that it can be fatal. And I have absolutely no kind of medical background. I wonder if they even bothered consulting a medical professional before pulling this stunt.

Tragic.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:26 AM on January 14, 2007


This caught my eye, because just a week or so ago a friend of mine was drinking a lot of water and asked "Can you get sick or die from drinking too much water?" I told her that it was indeed possible, but that I thought it had to take place over a longer period than just a day. Well, I was wrong. Obviously, my friend was not avoiding potty breaks, and wasn't trying to down as much as possible. She is fine, she was just thirsty.

Tragic indeed.
posted by The Deej at 7:33 AM on January 14, 2007


I wouldn't want to be their liability carrier.
posted by caddis at 7:33 AM on January 14, 2007


Another victim to the deadly substance dihydrogen monoxide.
posted by champthom at 7:38 AM on January 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


What a horrible epitaph. Died of water poisoning on a radio show in pursuit of a video game console. Those kids are going to have guilt problems for the rest of their lives.
posted by Atreides at 7:40 AM on January 14, 2007


DarwinFilter?
posted by Mikey-San at 7:52 AM on January 14, 2007


Back several years ago, I recall a story, that a college frat prank of drinking too much water caused the same kind of death. At the time the article read that the prosecutor claimed it was 'common sense' that you can die from drinking too much water. This was of course bogus. I consider myself generally well informed and I had never heard of such a thing, its not drowning, NO ONE thinks you can die from consuming water. Why not? Because basically no one does.

As I understand, the mass consumption of water causes a dilution of the blood, such that the balance of electrolytes gets out of whack and cellular function start to mess up. So in and of itself I don't think its a matter of not expelling, its the lack of salt.
posted by MrLint at 7:57 AM on January 14, 2007


Bah. She wasn't even a famous 16th century Danish astronomer, either. When will people learn?

And yes I know that it is believed that he actually died of mercury poisoning.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:59 AM on January 14, 2007


It isn't that she died from drinking too much water alone. It's that she forced herself to ignore her body's urge to expel the water.

People may not think you can die from drinking too much water, but people know you can get sick if you're constipated for too long, and this follows from that kind of logic.
posted by odinsdream at 8:06 AM on January 14, 2007


That's awful. Slimepuppy, I wouldn't think that too many people would know drinking too much water can be fatal, and if they do, they might be like me and not know how much water over how much time. I mean it's "just water," so if you don't know any better, you really wouldn't see it as a risk, right?

On preview, what MrLint said.

That's really just so sad.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 8:08 AM on January 14, 2007


Christ, just reading that page on Anthony and Opie was like scrubbing my head with scum. What an awful mental space for people to go to -- especially voluntarily.
posted by argybarg at 8:09 AM on January 14, 2007


How sad. This could be hyponatremia, where the body's sodium levels fall too low usually as a result of drinking too much water. It's been in the news lately because this is sometimes seen in amateur marathon runners.
posted by chinston at 8:11 AM on January 14, 2007


What a sad Farktastrophy. A Farkoriffic waste of human life.
posted by LarryC at 8:12 AM on January 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Um, yeah - or I could have followed the "water intoxication" link, which says the same thing.
posted by chinston at 8:12 AM on January 14, 2007


Fair enough, maybe the contestants didn't know about water intoxication. But surely somewhere along the line when deciding to bring in members of the public to do something biologically unnatural the station would have consulted a doctor or hell, even checked online. If for no other reason than to sign a piece of paper saying that 'if I die due to this activity, my living relatives will not sue the station (nor receive a Wii for compensation)'.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:19 AM on January 14, 2007


Even I, who read through the first 3/4 of the story thinking HAHADARWIN!LOL1, felt kind of sad for Mrs. Strange upon reading in the kicker that she wanted to get a Wii for her kids. Geez.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:20 AM on January 14, 2007


NO ONE thinks you can die from consuming water. Why not? Because basically no one does.

I thought a number of rave-associated deaths were due, not to X, but to water intoxication. Correct me if I'm wrong.
posted by dreamsign at 8:21 AM on January 14, 2007


The last time I heard of a water intoxication death, I was living in Boulder, CO and some high school girl drank herself to death on Ecstasy -- if I recall, she chugged well over a gallon of water in a sitting. At least, that was the story in the paper. That time, they blamed the Ecstasy.

Am I the only person to read this story and then suspiciously eye my drinking glass?
posted by Bookhouse at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2007


Every time I have to take a drug test and I'm drinking and drinking gallon after gallon of water I fear this selfsame fate.
posted by smackwich at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2007


dreamsign, you are correct.
posted by empath at 8:24 AM on January 14, 2007


dreamsign: There was one high-profile case in England where a girl died on her 19th birthday party. She kept drinking water because she was aware that E usually makes you forget to keep hydrated.

link
posted by mkb at 8:26 AM on January 14, 2007


M.C. Lo-Carb, you should have a look at Joystiq's comments on the story, you'll see several HAHADARWIN-type responses. They all depressed the hell out of me.
posted by JHarris at 8:31 AM on January 14, 2007


bookhouse - sounds a lot like what happened to Leah Betts.
posted by Artw at 8:38 AM on January 14, 2007


DarwinFilter?

Oh, bullshit. We live in a culture where we're taught from day one that the powerful and authoritative- be it a policeman, the President, or a radio show host- know what they're doing and that they the lesser should adhere to their commands. This woman's sin was trusting someone in power.

The only people here who dodged the evolutionary plan are the stupid fucks who enjoy torturing people for entertainment, and the stupider fucks who listen to them. I swear to god, stunt shows like this and Fear Factor and all that shit are like a giant slow-motion case of Kitty Genovese Syndrome.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


MrLint : "NO ONE thinks you can die from consuming water."

I dunno, most ravers know that it's possible, because of the Leah Betts case mentioned above.
posted by Bugbread at 8:49 AM on January 14, 2007


I'm going to go get a glass of water right now!
posted by evilelvis at 8:50 AM on January 14, 2007


I find it hilarious that, having read this and browsed away from mefi to lifehacker, this is their current story...
posted by jacalata at 8:56 AM on January 14, 2007


Some have resulted in lawsuits, but I don't recall any resulting in death before.

It's not the death of a contestant, but in Weirum v. RKO General, Inc. (1975), "[a] rock radio station with an extensive teenage audience conducted a contest which rewarded the first contestant to locate a peripatetic disc jockey. Two minors driving in separate automobiles attempted to follow the disc jockey's automobile to its next stop. In the course of their pursuit, one of the minors negligently forced a car off the highway, killing its sole occupant."
The radio station was found liable for the death.
posted by Partial Law at 8:57 AM on January 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


DarwinFilter?

Oh, bullshit. We live in a culture where we're taught from day one that the powerful and authoritative- be it a policeman, the President, or a radio show host- know what they're doing and that they the lesser should adhere to their commands. This woman's sin was trusting someone in power.


Trusting the "authority" of a smarmy carnival barker of a radio host is about as fundamentally stupid as it is possible to be. This is DarwinFilter at its most pathetic.
posted by jayder at 9:07 AM on January 14, 2007


t the time the article read that the prosecutor claimed it was 'common sense' that you can die from drinking too much water. This was of course bogus. I consider myself generally well informed and I had never heard of such a thing, its not drowning, NO ONE thinks you can die from consuming water.

Your ignorance does not represent all of humanity. Several people upthread have already said they knew this, and so did I; furthermore, I would have thought it was fairly common knowledge. But as far as placing blame goes: what XQUZYPHYR said.
posted by languagehat at 9:11 AM on January 14, 2007


On non-preview: gosh, it's fun to mock dead people. Yah everybody but me is STOOPID amirite? I'm sure you've never suffered on account of your own ignorance, but should it ever happen, I hope you remember your little blast of contempt.
posted by languagehat at 9:12 AM on January 14, 2007


MrLint:Back several years ago, I recall a story, that a college frat prank of drinking too much water caused the same kind of death.

If we're thinking of the same thing, it happened on the campus of my alma mater (off campus, really. The frat was kicked off campus years ago and couldn't be disciplined any more). As part of their plea deal, they had to help finance and participate in a documentary about the incident.

More info here.
posted by dr_dank at 9:13 AM on January 14, 2007


The woman's death is depressing enough without having to read the "LOL! Darwin!" comments in this thread. I think it's far more noble to be stupid than it is to be a smug, know-it-all asshole who delights in the suffering of other people.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:22 AM on January 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


“She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad,” said Laura Rios, one of Ms. Strange's co-workers at Radiological Associates of Sacramento.

She worked in the medical profession?

“We are awaiting information that will help explain how this tragic event occurred,” he [station manager] said.

um, okay.

“They told us if you don't feel like you can do this, don't put your health at risk.”

It's not like people can tell if they're about to go into water Intoxication. I wonder if there would have been anything she could have done to save herself. Maybe eating lots of salt? I think what kills you are that the brain swells, because it needs a certain amount of sodium and potassium ions to be dissolved in it.

I thought a number of rave-associated deaths were due, not to X, but to water intoxication. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I've heard that X messes with your brains ability to measure hydration, or something like that. It makes it easy to dehydrate, so ravers drink a lot of water. Then they drink to much and occasionally die. Or something like that, its not very common though -- certainly less likely then alcohol poisoning.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2007


dr_dank - something similar also happened at Chico State in 2005.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:50 AM on January 14, 2007


She kept drinking water because she was aware that E usually makes you forget to keep hydrated.

Note that it isn't the water, per se, that kills you. It's electrolyte balance, in particular, sodium and pottasium concentrations in the blood.

The USMC and US Army have run into this at Basic, at Parris Island MRCD and Fort Benning, both in the deep south. In the summer, it is very hot and humid, keeping hydrated is hard, so the DIs would be yelling at you about water constantly.

The kicker, part 1: You sweat, that drives out water, and electrolytes. You drink water, that replaces water, but not sodium and potassium, and when those drop low enough, you find certain things hard -- like thinking, walking, and keeping your heart beating.

The kicker, part 2: Your sense of thirst is triggered by hydration, not by electrolyte levels.

Thus, they had problems with recruits, well, dying -- too much water, not enough sodium, hyponatriema, heart stops.

The fast answer: Alas, this is why U-Florida created Gatorade. The sugars help with energy, but the sodium and potassium is what keeps you alive.

The dumb answer: Limiting water intake to keep from water intoxication. Heat stroke is a much easier way to die than water intoxication. If in doubt, drink, but if you can get a little salt in there with it, so much the better. The easiest way is to eat just about anything pre-packaged.
posted by eriko at 9:55 AM on January 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Athletes have begun acknowledging (NYT link) the problem with drinking too many liquids (including sports drinks) that can lead to death after sporting events. The temptation to load up on liquids during a marathon given all the Gatorade offered every five miles, say, is pretty high. But, people die from this. (I just got a sloshy stomach from drinking too much when I competed.)
posted by faux ami at 10:08 AM on January 14, 2007


Attorney General Gonzales: "It's not waterboarding, Senator Kennedy: we just promised them a Wii".
posted by matteo at 10:26 AM on January 14, 2007


This lttle piggy was not available for comment.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:29 AM on January 14, 2007


Trusting the "authority" of a smarmy carnival barker of a radio host is about as fundamentally stupid as it is possible to be.

Please. How many people die every hear from radio contest mishaps? Seems like less then one every couple of decades. Most people would just assume that the people knew what they were doing and that what they were doing was safe.
posted by delmoi at 11:23 AM on January 14, 2007


This is one of those situations where everybody involved is a stupid asshole.
posted by tehloki at 11:24 AM on January 14, 2007


As I said above, I really didn't know you could water-poison yourself in a matter of hours. I knew it could happen, but not that fast, and I am definitely more informed about more things than probably anyone I know. (Mostly useless info, unfortunately. And no, my friends are not idiots.)

So, ya, this was surprising to me. Not that I would ever think drinking as much water as you can without peeing would be good for you. But I am thinking bladder infection, not death.
posted by The Deej at 11:33 AM on January 14, 2007


What delmoi said.

You know, I never even knew what Darwin Awards were until my senior year of college. I had this rather smug sociology professor who would always start class by reading us some wacky thing he found on the internet.

He would read these Darwin Award things, and he could never even get to the end without laughing. And the punchline... "He died." "They both died." "He got rushed to the hospital and died."... It never stopped being a hilarious surprise to him.

Why is garbage like this popular? Because it's part of what humans are. There's a part of every one of us who is a total insensitive asshole.

But when did our culture stop having qualms with our own assholeness? When did we stop fighting it? When did it stop being something we're the least bit ashamed of?
posted by roll truck roll at 11:42 AM on January 14, 2007


One of the ways I've managed to live a long and unharmed life is by not selling out my dignity by participating in humiliation contests. "Don't pee"? What kind of stupid, childish, retarded stunt is that? FFS, everyone involved ought to be put to death just for being so goddamn stupid in the first place.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:43 AM on January 14, 2007


I swear to god, stunt shows like this and Fear Factor and all that shit are like a giant slow-motion case of Kitty Genovese Syndrome.

I think that is a very strong and somewhat inaccurate sentiment. While my heart goes out to this womans' family - after all now her children will be with out a mother - the fault lies both with the radio station (for not getting a producer to pick up a phone and talking to a doctor prior to the stunt) and this woman who was so hyped up about a god damned stupid toy SHE didn't think of how potential consequences may effect her kids.

Look. Anybody with ANY personal integrity at all won't go on Fear Factor and submit themselves to the obvious Geek Sideshow of eating vomited up liver flukes on live TV.

This popular desire for fame is NOT the result of any slow motion conspiracy where bystanders people don't stop it. It's result of the bystanders wanted to be a PART of it.

And. It is the result of Media Fame being rewarding to participants. It matters not if it's INFAMY or FAME. There is a brief stretch of time where individuals receive undeserved rewards and accolades for merely appearing in millions of living rooms on nearly ANY pretext. Being "recognized" by a critical mass of people is the reward.

I think our society does not teach values like dignity and integrity anymore. Let alone the ability to look down the road a few minutes and see what MIGHT happen should everything you think you want turn out to be not so good for you.
posted by tkchrist at 11:46 AM on January 14, 2007


Water intoxication is well-known in anesthesia and intensive care medicine. That is why almost all IV fluids contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium (most common: Ringer's Lactate and normal saline). Serious water intoxication can occur in a few situations. One is psychogenic polydipsia, where the patient has an uncontrollable urge to drink water and which is not very common. Another, more common situation is during prostate surgery, when the irrigating fluid used during electrosurgical resection of the prostate (TURP) is absorbed through the veins of the prostate. Although life-threatening hyponatremia is rare following prostate surgery, severe headaches, disorientation or delerium, and temporary blindness are less rare (although still not common). Each year there are a number of anesthesia board questions on the subject. In case you are wondering why they don't add electrolytes to the irrigation fluid, the answer is that it must be non-conductive to avoid short-circuiting the electrosurgical unit. Yet another medical situation where water intoxication is possible is total parenteral nutrition, where a patient who can't eat for an extended period is fed exclusively intravenously. Along with vitamins, minerals, and macro-nutrients, TPN solution is checked and adjusted daily for electrolyte content and osmolarity; the patient's blood chemistry is closely monitored as well. I do not know how well-known the phenomenon of water intoxication is known outside the medical community, but it is very well-known within it. (I don't intend that last comment to refer to the victim in the original post, who might well have been a receptionist or other persoon who worked for a physicians group but had little medical knowledge.)
posted by TedW at 11:57 AM on January 14, 2007


DarwinFilter?

Just a technical point - she already produced offspring. The Darwin Awards are schadenfreude at its worst. I'd rather share the planet with people who make stupid mistakes than those who would point and laugh at them.
posted by blendor at 12:10 PM on January 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


One thing I've learned over years of reading about climbing accidents, is that family members coping with grief and trying to understand why nearly always wind up reading these threads. It's worth considering that they are likely among your audience before you pull the trigger on that wisecrack.
posted by Manjusri at 12:15 PM on January 14, 2007


Metafilter: I am definitely more informed about more things than probably anyone I know.
posted by cortex at 1:02 PM on January 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


I actually think the medical profession has done kind of a poor job getting word out about the hazards of water intoxication. I consider myself to be a fairly well-versed layperson in medicine but haven't heard about this kind of thing... usually with water problems only salt poisoning and dehydration are mentioned.. practically all other advice is "drink up! drink up!"

I'm glad I know about it now... at the very least I'll be able to mention it to my son as he gets older so he'll be aware of it too.
posted by rolypolyman at 1:03 PM on January 14, 2007


The NY Times and others have written about water intoxication of marathon runners--people pour water into weak runners, thinking they're dehydrated when in fact, they're being poisoned by water. Not new, if not well known. I feel sorry for the woman--sounds as if she just got caught up in something truly stupid. The cruelty exhibited on the airwaves these days is amazing. DJ's pulling horrible stunts on people, others mocking those two boys in Missouri (well, why didn't the older kid just run away???) amazing.
posted by etaoin at 1:21 PM on January 14, 2007



This is why we need to completely revise the way we think and talk about chemicals, especially drugs.

THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON. THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON. THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON.

It's not, some substances = good, healthy, lovely, fabulous and other substances = bad, evil, horrid, dire. It's that every substance that can be helpful in some doses and situations can be harmful in others.

Peter McDermott and others did a very funny riff on this idea for alt.drugs.hard a while back:

http://www.psychoactive.com/h2o.html

But, it's a serious and important thing-- and I agree with those who question the lack of compassion inherent in things like the Darwin Awards and our seeing stuff like this as "entertainment."
posted by Maias at 1:27 PM on January 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


A couple of people in this thread have attributed her death not so much to the water she drank, but to the fact that she didn't pee. This is not correct. Water intoxication kills you because it dilutes the electrolytes in your bloodstream, which messes up your brain and internal organs. Long-distance runners have died from the same thing, and they definitely were excreting large amounts of water - through the skin as sweat, of course, not as urine. It not the holding in of the water, but simply consuming so much without any salts that did the damage. Even if she'd gone to pee she would have died from drinking that much water, because some of it still would have been absorbed, diluting her blood.

She would not have died if she'd been drinking Gatorade instead of water. At the end of the contest, the best thing probably would have been to drink (ironically) some rehydration salts, or maybe just eat a bunch of salt.

And while this is really not common sense, as some people who seem to think that if they know about it then everyone who doesn't know is stupid have implied, this is something that the organizers were negligent for not checking into. Her family will have not trouble winning a lawsuit, nor should they.
posted by Dasein at 1:54 PM on January 14, 2007


I'd like to know which insurance company okay'd this promotion. And which St. Johns Ambulance'-style medical staff provided services to the event. 'cause both organizations should probably be ultimately held responsible for not recognizing the medical risks, and communicating such to the event organizers.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:55 PM on January 14, 2007


NO ONE thinks you can die from consuming water.

Well, I've heard about this as well, though I would certainly file it under weird trivia rather than common knowledge.

Yeah, I agree with Dasein and five fresh fish, this was preventable and I have little doubt one or more organizations are about to be sued to smithereens.
posted by nanojath at 2:11 PM on January 14, 2007


As an interesting aside- a few years ago, a MD/PhD student friend of mine suggested to me that Pheidippides (the Athenian who ran 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens to report the Athenian victory in a battle and then dropped dead after telling the news) may have died from hyponaetremia (the dreaded "water poisoning" which comes from electrolyte imbalance from consuming too much water).

If this is true, it makes it especially interesting that hyponaetremia is one of the biggest risks faced by modern amateur marathoners.

The same friend said her father had drank too much water while playing tennis at a medical conference. He collapsed (and had little/no control of his muscles, but conveniently, another doctor correctly guessed the problem and carried him half a block to the ocean so he could drink seawater until he recovered. If the medical types find any of this unbelievable, keep in mind that (1) I'm just the messenger, and (2) she told me about this several years ago, so I may have some of the details wrong.
posted by JMOZ at 2:21 PM on January 14, 2007


Looks like a freshly bs-ed Wikipedia page... citation needed on 3 of the 6 pranks?
posted by tmcw at 2:25 PM on January 14, 2007


Famously Tycho Brahe died because his sense of etiquette kept him from leaving a banquet to have a piss. I am sure there are bad consequences medically from withholding your urine that the station also ought to have thought of.

I absolutely agree with XQZ**** and languagehat. Otherwise educated people have suprising pockets of ignorance. Otherwise wise and intelligent people have surprising moments of poor judgement. If we have have not suffered for our ignorance and folly in life, it is good luck, and no credit to ourselves.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:42 PM on January 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, it's not just water that's a problem, it's also sports drinks (w/electrolytes). As for the treatment, from the NYT article (above): "Hyponatremia can be treated... A small volume of a highly concentrated salt solution is given intravenously and can save a patient's life by pulling water out of swollen brain cells.

But, he said, doctors and emergency workers often assume that the problem is dehydration and give intravenous fluids, sometimes killing the patient.
posted by faux ami at 3:47 PM on January 14, 2007


(That last part was also a quotation from the article.)
posted by faux ami at 3:48 PM on January 14, 2007


I know I've lucked out when it came to paying for my follies and ignorance. Had I fallen unroped off the cliff, plunged off the crevasse, or been impaled by that stick, it'd have been entirely just for anyone to exclaim "Ha-ha! What a stupid asshole!"

Stupid is as stupid does.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:18 PM on January 14, 2007


Thanks cortex for my first tagline!

::: off to CafePress to design t-shirts :::
posted by The Deej at 4:24 PM on January 14, 2007


it is also possible to kill or seriously injure yourself by repressing the need to urinate.

Just in case anyone thinks I'm making that up, I'm still affected at 40 by the scar tissue from a ruptured urethra from when I was 8.

So the radio station was really being negligent to sponsor such a contest.
posted by lastobelus at 4:55 PM on January 14, 2007


But when did our culture stop having qualms with our own assholeness? When did we stop fighting it? When did it stop being something we're the least bit ashamed of?

When did we ever start? It wasn't so long ago that executions in the U.S. were public.
posted by dilettante at 6:00 PM on January 14, 2007


NO ONE thinks you can die from consuming water, except the ignorant and uninformed.
posted by caddis at 6:18 PM on January 14, 2007


A couple years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were all about drinking pickle juice during hot-weather games. Helps maintain electrolyte balance, and tastes yummy!

More about pickles here.
posted by Mister_A at 7:27 PM on January 14, 2007


They say the Tycho Brahe thing is most likely a myth, latter day forensic evidence indicates he died of mercury poisoning.
posted by nanojath at 7:33 PM on January 14, 2007


DarwinFilter?

Oh, bullshit. We live in a culture where we're taught from day one that the powerful and authoritative- be it a policeman, the President, or a radio show host- know what they're doing and that they the lesser should adhere to their commands. This woman's sin was trusting someone in power.

The only people here who dodged the evolutionary plan are the stupid fucks who enjoy torturing people for entertainment, and the stupider fucks who listen to them. I swear to god, stunt shows like this and Fear Factor and all that shit are like a giant slow-motion case of Kitty Genovese Syndrome.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:43 AM PST on January 14


I'm certainly creeped out by the "haha Darwin" comments, but I'm not following this logic. So the DJ's "dodged the evolutionary plan" for setting this stuff up, the people who listen to this stuff fall into that category as well. By that logic, though, why are the people who participate in these things not just as bad (or worse, if you follow the logic that the listeners are even worse than those who set it up)?
posted by Land Stander at 10:59 PM on January 14, 2007


Woman is at work, in January, after the holidays, when she wasn't able to get the hot toy of the year for her kids, for whatever reason. Listening to the radio, she finds out that there's a contest wherein she could surprise her kids with the Wii if she won, and the contest is silly and juvenile and simple-sounding enough that, after she and her coworkers laugh about it, she decides, "what the hell? No real harm in it unless I just can't hold it." And then she dies from something she probably never had heard of before as a result.

In other words, fuck all the darwiners.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:54 AM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd heard, from not-too-reliable source, of water intoxication. I'd never heard of water poisoning. It makes all kinds of sense, I know enough bio to understand that, just never thought of it.

This leaves me wondering how close I ever came to the problem, being prone, on occasion, to consume silly amounts of water, usually for a reason. I don't recall any ill effects, and one time I did it in the hospital (I had hepatitis), where it seemed the water improved my condition. (They wanted to collect my entire output for a 24-hour period, and gave me a big jar. I decided to see how many jars I could fill. -Gimme a break, I was only 18 at the time, and I get more than a little crazy when my liver enzymes go wack.- The first jar was seriously dark. The third jar was quite clear). I got better over the next two days and was sent home.

Why wouldn't the kidneys fight to remove the excess water, given the electrolyte balance being down? My understanding is that, drinking lots of water, bringing the sodium balance down, the kidneys function to restore that.
posted by Goofyy at 2:38 AM on January 15, 2007


My heart really goes out to her kids. How awful.
posted by Iamtherealme at 3:14 AM on January 15, 2007


The fast answer: Alas, this is why U-Florida created Gatorade. The sugars help with energy, but the sodium and potassium is what keeps you alive.

She would not have died if she'd been drinking Gatorade instead of water.

Actually, it's not just water that's a problem, it's also sports drinks (w/electrolytes).


I'm a little confused about this--is Gatorade less dangerous than water, but still capable of killing you?
posted by mullacc at 6:12 AM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


When I read this story last night, I thought why didn't the radio station do their homework and make them drink a gatorade after a certain amount of water. Would that work?

I also read somewhere that women are more prone to this due to the interaction of estrogen and a certain enzyme, but I can't find the link.

I don't think that it's unreasonable that this woman didn't know about this. I've heard of it, but I have no idea how much water it would take. Also people do get confused about things, people are constantly being told to drink loads of water, but that advice hardly ever comes with a caveat, the net result being people dying from this.
posted by ob at 7:39 AM on January 15, 2007


I found that link
posted by ob at 7:42 AM on January 15, 2007


"As god as my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly."

Link.
posted by nyxxxx at 8:39 AM on January 15, 2007


The irony of the Darwin awards is that, even though some of the people mentioned made obvious mistakes, they're still the same species as the rest of us. Their deaths speak poorly of homo sapiens, not of the individual, when it comes to evolutionary biology.
posted by mikeh at 9:17 AM on January 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Negatory on the Darwin Awards poo-poo-ers. I would point out that keeping a record of mistakes that others have made that resulted in their demise is educational and worthy of recording so as to teach others not to make the same mistakes, or at least to have a record which is easily referenced for others to attempt to learn from. Commenting and laughing at the misfortune and/or ignorance of others is, however, something you do just as much as the rest of us, so please take your condecention and shove it up your rectum, forcfully. Maybe it will dislodge the stick and allow you to bend your neck so your nose won't be so high in the air.

If you want to be compassionate to someone who has lost a loved one, feel free to send flowers, buy them lunch, take the time to sit with them and let them talk about their pain, but for godsake, please don't feel you have to hold your tongue because someone might be offended.

(stalks off grumbling about the fucking PC movement and how they need to be introduced to large electrical current)
posted by daq at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2007


mullacc, from a washington post article:

As runners absorb liquids while sweating out salt, diluted water floods the body's cells. And with blood flowing to the legs and lungs instead of the kidneys, less urine is produced, further increasing fluid buildup.

The first signs of hyponatremia -- including dizziness and nausea -- are often mistaken for dehydration.

Some researchers suggest that salt tablets, salty snacks or sports drinks can help prevent hyponatremia... But the sodium concentration of sports drinks is far lower than that of blood.


You do notice tons of free Gatorade or Powerade at the sporting events - you are perhaps overly encouraged to rehydrate (for obvious reasons from Gatorade's point of view).
posted by faux ami at 10:04 AM on January 15, 2007


I learned more about water poisoning than I knew by reading this, so I don't think calling this woman stupid is completely called for.. Also it sounds like she could have suffered the same fate even if she had peed. (Some people said she was ignoring her body and should have known better).

I particularly hate most DJ pranks and prank calls. There is something extremely cruel about making someone think they have won a lot of money then yanking the rug out from under them, especially if they had to jump through a lot of hoops to win the contest.

Imagine if this had been one of those "Hundred grand" jokes, and someone died over it. (Though dying for a video game system is pretty pointless too)
posted by DigDugDag at 1:55 PM on January 15, 2007


What's that film where a character says they have been in an institution which has a number of inmates that get high from drinking too much water?
posted by asok at 10:21 AM on January 16, 2007


Update: Radio show pulled.
posted by The Deej at 1:57 PM on January 16, 2007


10 employees were fired, according to this CBS News story.
posted by cass at 6:34 AM on January 17, 2007


From the CBS link above:

during the contest, a listener - self-identified as a nurse - called the live radio broadcast and warned that the game was dangerous.

"I want to say that those people drinking all that water can get sick and die from water intoxication," said the caller.

"Yeah, we're aware of that," replied a DJ, according to the broadcast news report. "They signed releases so we're not responsible, okay?"


.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:08 AM on January 17, 2007


"Yeah, we're aware of that," replied a DJ

Wow. Talk about stupidity. He may have a hard time finding a lawyer...
posted by languagehat at 9:27 AM on January 17, 2007


"Yeah, we're aware of that,"

What do you even say to that? Christ.

I assume that since there was a waiver/release, nobody will be charged with anything. So he won't be needing a lawyer, unfortunately. What a bastard.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:05 AM on January 17, 2007


I doubt the release will protect them. It might, but only if it was very specific as to the risks involved. Regardless, no suit will bring back the mother to these three children.
posted by caddis at 11:32 AM on January 17, 2007


There is such thing as an illegal waiver. If you sign a waiver saying "signing this waiver forfeits your life to me, and you will be tortured until you are dead. I accept no responsibility for this", it's not like the person can't be charged with anything.

This is cut-and-dry criminal negligence. There was no medical professional on-hand to deal with the possible issues, and the contestants were not properly informed of the risks. This outcome was unlikely, but they were completely unprepared for it. They'd better get fucking charged with something.
posted by tehloki at 11:35 AM on January 17, 2007


There is also reports that one of the DJs muttered something about having read a water intox report on the web, and how maybe they should have researched the stunt beforehand.

Asses will be in slings, boy-howdy!
posted by five fresh fish at 7:24 PM on January 17, 2007


Police are investigating.
posted by cass at 6:34 AM on January 18, 2007


Audio of the contest.
posted by sageleaf at 12:19 PM on January 18, 2007


I quit listening just when they started talking to Jennifer.

Sigh.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:26 PM on January 18, 2007


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