Teens treated for extreme intoxication at underage Cork disco had bottles of vodka in their socks

Update 6.54pm: A number of teenagers who were treated for extreme intoxication at an underage disco last week had bottles of neat vodka hidden in their socks.

A field hospital had to be set up at the non-alcoholic event at Bandon Rugby club for around a dozen children last Friday.

Three others had to be brought to hospital because they could not manage their own airways.

A doctor who attended the scene says a number of teens drank on busses on the way to the disco.

He said: "We received a call even before the disco started about a teenager who was completely unconscious.

"It was quite apparent as the disco did start that there was a large number of teenagers arriving extremely intoxicated on the buses."

Update 2.30pm: Teens could have died from alcohol intoxication at West Cork disco, says specialist

An emergency medicine specialist said today two teenagers had the potential to die at a teenage disco in West Cork due to extreme alcohol intoxication.

Jason van der Velde, a pre-hospital emergency medicine specialist went to the scene at Bandon Rugby Club last weekend, assessed the condition of the students and decided to set up a field hospital to treat the teenagers, many who were aged around 16.

Mr van der Velde told the Sean O'Rourke programme that he was not exaggerating when he says that two of the children had the potential to die at scene due to excessively high blood pressure and difficulty breathing.

He described it as a 'vomatorium' and said the children were "paralytically, unconsciously drunk".

Two teenagers were sent by ambulance to CUH where they needed overnight care and treatment.

Mr van der Velde said Bandon Rugby Club had run the event very well and praised its efforts to assist those trying to help around a dozen or so very drunk teenagers.

He said some unconscious teenagers had 'naggins' of vodkas in their socks.

He said it was clearly excessive alcohol consumption rather than drink spiking that was responsible.

He said that there is a need outlets for teenagers to express and enjoy themselves and hundreds of kids got home safely from the disco, but a dozen kids let the side down.

The matter was first reported in the Irish Examiner.

Dr Chris Luke, a consultant in emergency medicine at CUH praised the efforts of Dr van der Velde in keeping many of the teenagers from attending a packed-out emergency department at CUH.

He also thanked those who assisted at the scene.

Dr Luke said parents need to know the risks teenagers take with alcohol and should not blame treating physicians for the outcomes that result from excessive consumption.

Earlier: Makeshift field hospital needed to treat drunk teenagers at West Cork disco

Senior gardaí and medics have called for increased parental supervision around teenage discos after a dozen drunk children — three of whom were unconscious and had to be hospitalised — arrived at an underage alcohol-free disco in West Cork, writes Eoin English.

Supt Brendan Fogarty said he had concerns about the pressure the incident put on garda and ambulance resources, who responded to the incident at Bandon Rugby Club.

File photo

“I don’t want to have to shut down such events but I do have a serious concern that seven gardaí and in particular, three ambulances, were tied up dealing with this,” Supt Fogarty said.

“I would also like to emphasise the need for parental supervision. Parents really do have to step up.”

Gardaí are investigating several public order incidents and an alleged assault arising out of the incident.

They detained three teenagers but when they contacted the parents of one, in Cork City, the parents told gardaí they weren’t in a position to travel to Bandon to collect their child and gardaí had to transport the child home.

Hundreds of teenagers from all over Cork descended on the rugby club last Friday night, with many arriving by hire buses from the city, and from towns across north and west Cork.

One teen was so drunk at a collection point in a north Cork town that he couldn’t board the bus. The driver called for an ambulance and the teen was brought to CUH.

The rugby club had several adults on duty to supervise, backed up by first aiders and nurses.

All disco goers were searched at the door for drink and drugs and anyone in an intoxicated state was refused entry.

Up to a dozen teens who arrived drunk were refused entry and directed to a dressing room where they were monitored. But it soon became clear that the club needed medical backup.

Dr Jason van der Velde said when he arrived around 9pm, they quickly identified those who needed “supportive care”.

He said two teens were “profoundly unconsciousness, couldn’t manage their own airways”, had low blood pressure, and had to be transported by ambulance to CUH, where they were detained overnight.

A fourth child, who was about to be transported to CUH by ambulance, regained consciousness after treatment, before he was escorted home by a parent.

Given how temperatures on the night plummeted to below zero, Dr van der Velde said the incident had the potential to become very serious.

“This was a large incident which had the ability to cause mayhem for the ambulance service and CUH. But dealing with it as we did, at the scene, averted a major incident,” he said.

Teenagers need a social outlet, he said, but the minority in this incident had, for whatever reasons, let their parents and their communities down.

He said he heard reports that some involved hid containers of alcohol in their socks and underwear, and he said it highlighted the need for parental supervision on the disco buses.

“You can’t expect a bus driver, who may be driving alone, to police them,” he said.

Dr Chris Luke, a consultant in emergency medicine at CUH and the Mercy University Hospital, described the nature of the incident as “jaw-dropping”.

“The medical staff, the paramedics performed miracles,” he told The Opinion Line on Cork’s 96fm yesterday.

But the father-of-four criticised the ‘my drink was spiked’ response of some parents and teenagers caught up in similar incidents.

He said such spiking incidents are rare in Ireland and he encounters such cases maybe once or twice a year.

“Parents need to understand that the greatest determinant, the greatest driver of teen drinking is the behaviour of the parent in the house, the culture within the house,” he said.

“I can’t tell you how upsetting it is for staff in hospitals to be working flat out, minding the young people of this country, only to be abused by parents who are alleging some mysterious third party spiked their teenager’s drink.

“If it were the case, we would have the worst epidemic of drink spiking in the history of Europe and I don’t believe that is the case.”

- Irish Examiner

More in this Section

Sophie Toscan Du Plantier's son appeals for witnesses to testify at Bailey trial

Plane fuel checked at Belfast City airport after concerns over delivery

Knife crime leading the young down disastrous blind alley – archbishop

Majority of public would support ban on unvaccinated children attending school


Appliance of Science: How do we achieve a sustainable future?

Peter Dowdall: What we can do every day to improve the planet

Runner of the Week: Cork City Marathon pacer Paula Wright

Meet the man on a mission to save a little-known river in Cork City

More From The Irish Examiner