June 9, 2013
Peer Pressure And Soy Sauce Overdose Puts Teen Into Coma
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online
It was almost “death by condiment” for a 19-year-old man, who very nearly lost his life after consuming more than a quart of soy sauce on a dare, various media outlets reported over the weekend.
The unnamed teenager, who was the subject of a case study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, slipped into a coma with seizure-like activity after overdosing on the sodium-heavy substance.
He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with hypernatremia, explained Jenn Harris of the Los Angeles Times. Hypernatremia is a metabolic condition caused by too much salt in the blood. The excessive amount of sodium causes the patient´s brain to lose water, shrink and bleed, she added.
“He didn´t respond to any of the stimuli that we gave him,” said Dr. David J. Carlberg, who treated the teenager as an emergency room physician at University of Virginia Medical Center, according to a FoxNews.com report. “He had some clonus, which is just elevated reflexes. It´s a sign that basically the nervous system wasn´t working very well.”
Often times, doctors attempt to slowly reduce a hypernatremia patient´s sodium levels in order to prevent further shock to the body, ABC News reporter Gillian Mohney said. In this case, however, Dr. Carlberg and his colleagues attempted to lower the 19-year-old´s salt levels quickly in order to prevent damage to his brain.
“They quickly tried to flush the salt from his system with a water-and-sugar-based solution in an effort to protect his brain from lasting damage,” Mohney explained. “Eventually the doctors were able to stabilize the patient, even though he remained in a coma. After three days he woke up from the coma without suffering any lasting neurological damage.”
Dr. Carlberg told reporters that he believed the young man survived because they were able to reduce his sodium levels quickly. “We were more aggressive than had been reported before in terms of bringing his sodium back down to a safer range,” he said, adding that slower salt level reduction has had mixed or poor results in the past.