Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Deadly marijuana

Yes, marijuana is deadly!  There, I said it, and all you pot advocates will soon find out not only that you're wrong, but just how wrong you've been.  One of the main arguments for legalising pot is that it isn't addictive, it's simply a harmless plant, no one has ever overdosed on it, and it can't kill you.

I have definitive proof that all of you idiots are dead wrong.  Pun intended. 

At 2 AM my pager awoke me from a dream about Scarlett Johansson (Scarlett, call me) to politely inform me (read: scream in my ear) that I would be getting two stabbing victims in 5 minutes.  By the way, why the hell is it always at 2 AM?  Can't you violent assholes get your stabbings done and over with during the day and let me sleep like normal people do?  Is there some reason your altercations have to happen in the middle of the night?  Don't you lunatics sleep?

Where was I?  Oh yeah, Scarlett Johansson.  Er, I mean stabbings.  Right.  My feet always feel 25 kg heavier at 2 AM, but somehow I managed to stumble my way into the trauma bay a few minutes before my victims arrived.  The first one was stabbed in the hand.  His wounds were clearly no big deal, so I turned my attention to the other guy.

"He's been fighting us the whole way," the medic informed me.  "He's not saying much, but he was stabbed all over.  Back, arm, leg."  I didn't hear them say "chest" or "abdomen", so I immediately relaxed somewhat.  As the medics moved him over from their stretcher to our gurney, I got the feeling I might get back to sleep soon.

And then he promptly died.  

Out of nowhere, his heart just stopped.  We immediately started CPR and got a breathing tube in, all while my team and I were looking to see where the holes were:

  • 5 in the right arm
  • 1 in the right hand
  • 1 in the left thigh
  • 1 in the left hand
  • 3 on the back
None of his injuries looked as if they should be life-threatening.  My mind started racing as I ticked through each possibility - maybe he had bled to death?  Maybe the stab wounds in the back hit his lung or heart?  Maybe he was on some illegal drug and had overdosed?  I couldn't shoot an X-ray or a CT scan while CPR was ongoing, and I didn't have time to wait for the results of his blood work to confirm my suspicions.  My best bet was a punctured lung, so I quickly inserted chest tubes into both sides of his chest.  Nope, nothing.  No punctured lungs, no blood in his chest. 

Next I grabbed my ultrasound machine to make sure the knife hasn't plunged deep enough through his back to penetrate into his abdomen or heart.  Negative, zip, nada.  No blood in his abdomen, no blood around the heart.  A Foley catheter in his bladder showed no blood, so his kidneys were fine too. 

After about 15 minutes of CPR, his heart finally restarted.  As his blood pressure stabilised, we now had time to evaluate him fully with X-rays and CT scans.  His chest X-ray was clear, so I scanned him from head to toe.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), his scans were all negative too.

So what the hell happened to this guy?  Healthy men in their 20's don't just die.  A few minutes later, his blood work and urine tox screen came back.  He had lost a good deal of blood, but not enough to bleed to death.  His alcohol level was 0.  His tox screen, however, was positive.

For marijuana.

He was so high that he vomited during the ambulance ride, and he aspirated that vomit back into his lungs, and that caused his heart to stop.  But the story doesn't end there.

Did you forget all his stab wounds?  Because we certainly did, once we verified that all of them were superficial.  After talking with the police, we found out that he and his two roommates were smoking pot in their flat, and a few guys broke in to steal it from them.  They were all too high to fight back, and all three of them were stabbed multiple times.

By my count that makes exactly two potentially fatal reasons not to smoke marijuana.

As you all surely know, I'm always up for a marijuana debate.  Any takers?

40 comments:

  1. That was way funnier than it should have been. "Marijuana causes vomit to go into your lungs and stop your heart"

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  2. Doc, have you seen more people die from marijuana or alcohol?

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  3. So when was the last time you saw a guy stabbed in a robbery attempt for a bottle of Jack?

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    1. I see a lot more alcohol-related stabbings and shootings than anything else.

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  4. Not that I am an advocate for marijuana, but it seems that is was the fact that it's illegal that caused someone to want to steal it which resulted in the stab wounds. As for the vomiting part, I lol'd.

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  5. I would never smoke marijuana, but i don't think marijuana should be illegal, unless you were to make alcohol illegal as well, and i don't see anyone jumping to do that.

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  6. They did that one Super. It didn't work so well, but the Rockefellers made a lot of money off of it.

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  7. You said the three of them... What happened to the third?

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    1. He was brought to another hospital. No word on his condition.

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    2. Well he needed a hospital, I feel that says enough.

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  8. Do you think everything that is dangerous and could kill you should be illegal Doc? Just driving kills a lot of people, should it be illegal to drive? I don't argue that smoking pot has no risk, but the risk of most drugs falls on the person choosing to use them alone. In the US there is a huge issue with drug trafficking and violence related to drugs BECAUSE it is not legal. There are far more victims of the war on drugs than victims of the actual drug.

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    1. Clearly not everything dangerous can/should be illegal. Conversely, everything not dangerous shouldn't necessarily be legal. I hope you don't seriously believe that something should be legalised in hopes that it would curb violence. If you believe that, then heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine should be made legal too, right?

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    2. Heroin and meth, yes, I do believe those should be legal. Cocain is different only because it makes the user violent. If the person knows the risk of the drug and the drug can be regulated, why shouldn't it be legal?

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    3. The purpose of laws is to protect people form harm caused by others and to protect basic freedoms. It isn't necissary for laws to protect people against self harm.

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    4. You honestly believe heroin and meth should be legalised? On what planet do you live? Have you ever seen the effects of these drugs?

      There are many laws that are designed to protect people from themselves, including motorcycle helmet laws, seatbelt laws, jaywalking, etc. Do you think they should be abolished too?

      Come on, Hannah. Use your brain.

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    5. Maybe, Hannah, you should legalize shooting people. It only sometimes results in death.

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    6. Well, I think that most drugs can make you paranoid if you use them enough. Therefore, it could cause harm to others by making them falsely suspicious.

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    7. I'm just going to jump in here and say that heroin and meth definitely are not only harmful to the user. Legalizing them would be ridiculous. I can't put into words the damage to families (yes - plural) that I am very close to that has been caused by the use of methamphetamine. Also, legalizing these drugs wouldn't curb violence, as junkies would still need to steal and stab to get their fix. Making something legal doesn't magically make it accessible to everyone - it still costs money. Legalizing meth or heroin would only keep the criminals who abuse them out of jail where they belong.

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  9. About Scarlett Johansson... aren't you married?

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    1. Yeah it seemes very disrespectful and downright inappropriate to keep making comments about other women...your poor wife!

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    2. My poor wife? I make these same comments directly to her. That's a benefit of having a secure, loving, trusting marriage - I'm free to look at other women just as she is free to look at other men. LOOK. Not touch, look. That's it. We both know and trust each other, so it's harmless fun.

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  10. I heard that smoking joints can be as bad for you as smoking, and smoking blunts are even worse. I heard that weed almost always leads to harder drugs, and that it becomes a habit. However, I've also heard that weed isn't bad for you and you can't get addicted, and that it's completely safe if used responsibly. Which is correct?

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    1. Marijuana doesn't leave tar deposits on your lungs, and I don't know about joints vs. blunts. It is not a "gateway drug"--it's the drug most people try the first time because of its accessibility, and if they want to try harder drugs then they do, but marijuana does not necessarily lead to cocaine and heroin and the like. It can become a habit like alcohol can become a habit--some get addicted, some don't. If used responsibly, it is safe. As long as you don't drive or engage in any otherwise irresponsible behavior, weed will not cause you to turn violent (in fact, it has the opposite effect usually) or do anything really stupid.

      And a little message for Doc--please stop ragging on weed all the time. It's tiring. We get it--you think it should be illegal. But you get plenty of drunken idiots shambling into your trauma bay, aspirating their own vomit and dying, and yet you don't say alcohol should be illegal. In fact, you admit to drinking alcohol every now and then, and that is completely okay, because alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation. The stoners you see in your trauma bay are the people who would behave irresponsibly whether or not they were high, and would pull the same shit given any other drug. Marijuana is far less harmful than other drugs. You can't OD and no one flies into a weed-induced rage.

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    2. I imagine Doc B gets tired of people defending weed all the time. Arguing about something rarely makes someone change their opinion or what they've seen.

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    3. Kitri - No one is forcing you to read this. If you want to go find some pro-weed sites and spread your propaganda, lies, and half-truths, there are thousands of them out there from which to choose.

      The difference between alcohol and marijuana is that only one of them is legal in the vast majority of the world. And I admit I see many more drunks than potheads, but I would submit to you that is because alcohol is far easier to obtain. If marijuana were to be legalised, I'm sure I would see a lot more high idiots than I see now.

      I'll give you a fair warning - my next post will be about pot too. Whether you choose to read it or not is up to you.

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    4. Doc, I read this blog because I'm a premed student who volunteers in the ER at a local hospital and I enjoy your stories. I don't, however, appreciate your attitude when someone disagrees with you, although I know an ego the size of Michael Jordan's cock comes with the territory of being a surgeon. Alcohol may be easier than weed to obtain, but it is certainly no less harmful, and I will reiterate--I *don't* ever see you talking about the evils of alcohol when in the right hands. You seem to be of the viewpoint that marijuana is wrong, has always been wrong, and always will be wrong despite the fact that it's slowly gaining legal status (in my country, anyway), and this is not correct.

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    5. Kitri, you seem to have figured out my stance on marijuana perfectly. I love how you hypocritically complain about my posts on marijuana, yet claim that my opinions are wrong.

      Last I checked this was *my* blog, and I can talk about whatever subject I choose. I don't see anyone claiming that alcohol is great and harmless. I *DO* see lots of people, yourself included, claiming that marijuana *IS* harmless, and I'm trying to get you and others to see that this claim is nothing but false, baseless propaganda from marijuana advocates. I don't think I need to convince anyone that drunk driving is bad. Everyone knows that. But despite what you continue to believe despite clear evidence to the contrary, marijuana is NOT harmless.

      I can personally promise you that I WILL continue my posts on marijuana. If you don't like it, don't read it.

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    6. Last I checked, I can start a debate if I so choose, and you actually invited people to debate, so I'm merely taking you up on the offer. I also never said marijuana was harmless. I said it was harmless when used safely. You shouldn't drive while stoned. You shouldn't partake in any activity that requires brain function while stoned, the same way you wouldn't do any of that while drunk. Everything that could get you arrested while drunk should be illegal while stoned, too. But on that same logic, why shouldn't it be legal the way alcohol is legal? Alcohol isn't harmless either, but it's legal because there are plenty of ways in which it won't hurt anybody.

      And since I don't feel like posting a separate comment regarding your most recent post, I'll just say it here: actually, I do think that all drugs should be legal. It would destroy the cartels, and I'm pretty sure that you aren't affected (much) by the Mexican/South American cartels where you live, but I certainly am, and I've had enough of it. As has the entire southwestern United States, for that matter. The states that have legalized marijuana are now realizing that it's going to be even more regulated than before. Plenty of people do terrible things while high, but a drug user will always find a way to get drugs, illegal or not. And then you have the prison overcrowding, where some nonviolent recreational stoner gets incarcerated with the high-ranking kingpins and learns how to become a real drug lord. The circumstances of your country might be different, but at least in the US, drug legalization is gaining more ground every day.

      Also, let's be clear about one thing: I don't smoke pot and never have, because it smells like shit. I just don't see any real reason for it not to be legal.

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    7. You are free to debate, but telling me what I should or shouldn't post isn't appreciated.

      Just because something is "harmless when used safely" isn't an argument to legalise it. You could argue that driving 200 kph is safe when there aren't other cars around, so that should be legal because people do it anyway But you could still crash into a tree. When your mind is addled by drugs, you can't control what you do. That's fact.

      As I've said before, arguing that "people will use drugs anyway, so you may as well legalise it" is extraordinarily shortsighted and stupid. Making these substances even easier to obtain will only makes things worse, not better. You might curb some drug violence, but don't think for a minute that it will eliminate it. Heroin, PCP, and meth will still cost money to buy, and the drug addicts will still not be able to afford it and will do anything to get it, including hurting people.

      Wise up, Kitri. If you have actually read what I've said, then you should have seen PLENTY of reasons why it shouldn't be legal. If you still don't understand, then you just haven't been paying attention.

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    8. I have seen all of your reasons for why it shouldn't be legal, and I don't agree. Clearly, you don't live in an area known for its drug cartels and prison overcrowding, and you also don't live in an area where so many people smoke weed that the cops have basically stopped caring. It's impossible to eliminate drug violence, and you said yourself that it might curb some of it. It's sure as hell better than nothing.

      Let's take the example of Prohibition, the decade-long drinking spree where alcohol was illegal in America. It didn't work, people were put in jail for manufacturing, selling and drinking bootleg alcohol, and absolutely nobody was deterred. The mob prospered. Then the government decided that it wasn't really working as they had hoped and ended the ban. The mob was suddenly out of a job, people weren't going to jail for doing exactly what they'd been doing before, during and after Prohibition, and alcohol-related crimes went way down because there wasn't any alcohol-related mob violence. Please tell me how this is different from marijuana, or any illegal drug. I really don't see a significant one.

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    9. I don't want to jump into the argument (since I don't really know much about pot and other drugs), but I would like to point out that DocBastard doesn't ignore alcohol and just write posts about weed and other drugs. He has made several posts about people doing dumb and potentially deadly things while drunk: Alcohol (if I remember correctly, he had two posts under this name), Two Beers, Call Gods, Being Responsible, etc... So sure, he often points out why he thinks marijuana is stupid enough to be illegal, but there's plenty of other interesting reading material on this blog! :3

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    10. I'm not going to stop reading the blog just because I happen to disagree with something the author says. And you're right, he does talk about people doing dumb shit while drunk, but he never says alcohol should be illegal, because it shouldn't. But then why shouldn't marijuana be illegal? People are doing equally stupid things, and certainly the pot isn't producing anything worse.

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  11. I see what your point is on all comments, Doc. However, just my opinion and people are free to argue (preferably politely), I do feel that if recreational drugs were legalized and taxed our economy could be boosted a bit. Also, when it comes to the harmfulness of it, to each their own. I don't blame the marijuana for the violence. The people who committed the crime were to blame. That's like saying guns kill people. Its all about the operator and intentions. But if it were legal, people might not feel the need to rob others for it, as they could get some from the legal local area pot handler.

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    1. I understand your viewpoint, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Yes, people kill people with guns, and without guns, the gun violence wouldn't exist. But people who do drugs then do stupid things. If a PCP user loses his mind and attacks someone, do you blame the person? Of course. But he wouldn't have attacked anyone without the drug in his system. So blame him for using the drug, because ultimately it is completely his fault. But making the drugs legal (and therefore easier to obtain) just to make a little money on taxes and regulation is stupid and shortsighted.

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    2. Then we shall agree to disagree :)

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  12. I have a question for Doc. first, I've observed that some people just don't care for the taste or feeling of alcohol and don't drink, period. other people drink small to moderate amounts (1 to 2 drinks) to get a little buzz, but not drunk. maybe social drinking, wine with dinner, or a liqueur at bedtime. other people get blasted at parties or while clubbing on weekends but are responsible enough to use a taxi or a sober designated driver. and still others drink to excess, drink to get drunk, drink daily, and are irresponsible such as driving while intoxicated. the question: in your experience, are people who use illegal drugs also on a similar spectrum of use? in other words, not all people who use illegal drugs are addicts, and not all recreational users are irresponsible or reckless. I would never say that illegal drugs (MJ, crack, heroin, PCP, etc.) are harmless. just like I would never say alcohol is harmless, or that prescription drugs obtained from my doctor are harmless. would you say there's a difference between legalizing and regulating? it's better to NOT use mind-altering substances, because that implies having a reasonable amount of judgment and self-control. Yet, isn't it possible for people to either drink and get high under relatively safe conditions? not that every user or drinker will use responsibly - but just because a few people don't use good sense, doesn't mean the majority are not capable of it. your thoughts?

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  13. It's there scientific evidence of the size of Michael Jordan's cock? Shaq had bigger feet...

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  14. I’m glad reading your blog style .

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  15. All this post shows is that when you make a plant illegal and worth 500 percent more than it should be , people will commit violet felonies to steal it. Did you hear about the Beer massacre in Atlanta where 7 men were killed for a 24 pack of Natural light last week? No, you did not because beer is not illegal and it did not happen. This post just proves that legalization of cannabis would prevent violent crime. When it comes to surgery your knowledge is vast and admirable , when it comes to drug laws and policy...not so much.

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  16. All this post shows is that when you make a plant illegal and worth 500 percent more than it should be , people will commit violet felonies to steal it. Did you hear about the Beer massacre in Atlanta where 7 men were killed for a 24 pack of Natural light last week? No, you did not because beer is not illegal and it did not happen. This post just proves that legalization of cannabis would prevent violent crime. When it comes to surgery your knowledge is vast and admirable , when it comes to drug laws and policy...not so much.

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