June 1, 2010

"I didn't understand anything he said. We took him to the bedroom and laid him down to rest."

Laid him down to die. Ted Koppel's son.

Do you know when it's okay to let somebody sleep it off?

38 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

I am sorry for his child. I am sorry for his parents and siblings.

mesquito said...

There but for the Grace of God...

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do you know when it's okay to let somebody sleep it off?

Nope.

Sixty Grit said...

He chose to drink himself to death, I don't feel sorry for him at all. Addiction is not a disease, it is a bad choice.

Fred4Pres said...

You lay a drunk on his stomach so if he throws up he does not choke on it. I doubt it is fool proof, so the best bet may be to call 911 and have the person's stomach pumped.

k*thy said...

Same here, mesquito, there but for the Grace of God go I.

The Crack Emcee said...

Poor Ted Koppel - finally dragged into the gutter. I've always admired him.

My sincere condolences.

SteveR said...

Given the information contained in the story, there's a lot of unknowns. Who's going to take a slobbering drunk home you've only met that day?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Given the information contained in the story, there's a lot of unknowns. Who's going to take a slobbering drunk home you've only met that day?

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who thought that was odd.

Balfegor said...

Given the information contained in the story, there's a lot of unknowns. Who's going to take a slobbering drunk home you've only met that day?

Well, it's nicer than just leaving him in a gutter by the side of the road, I suppose. The safer alternative might have been to rifle through his pockets for ID and an address, or take his cell-phone and call whatever he labelled as "home" or family," but just from what I see in the article, they seem to have meant well.

Pastafarian said...

"Do you know when it's okay to let somebody sleep it off?"

Unfortunately, no. Those around me rarely drink til stupefied, however.

Fortunately for me, when the concentration of The Macallan in my system reaches a magic number, it triggers a defensive reaction in which I lean into a barrel and make horrible noises that sound something like "Barack, Barack", followed by a firehose of vomit.

Good times, good times.

But if you don't have that defensive mechanism of a weak stomach, and you drink straight whisky, it's not hard at all to OD on alcohol. This is actually one of the best arguments I've ever heard for legalization of marijuana: The ratio of lethal dose to intoxicating dose for alchohol is something like 3 to 1, while this ratio for mary jane is more like 50 to 1 (or maybe bigger than that -- I don't recall exactly. Too many "Barack" sessions).

AJ Lynch said...

I tended bar during college and afterwards for several years. Holidays like Memorial Day or Xmas seem to bring out most forlorn lost souls. IMO holidays, for alcoholics are worse than full moons.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The safer alternative might have been to rifle through his pockets for ID and an address, or take his cell-phone ...

Maybe its just me but rifling through a drunk stranger's pockets for his wallet and ID doesn't strike me as particularly safe.

MadisonMan said...

I wonder how many other people died similarly yesterday who didn't have famous parents.

Condolences to their parents as well.

k*thy said...

The best thing one could do, is to call 911.

John Stodder said...

Unfortunately, no. Those around me rarely drink til stupefied, however.

Same with me. I haven't seen anyone close to being in such condition for 30 years at least. A non-collegiate-age person who drinks to this point is someone wishing for this outcome at some level. Being in the presence of someone who, for whatever reason, has become completely incoherent would be, to me, a 911 call. But I don't think his night's drinking companions are responsible for what happened to him.

Pogo said...

A bad way to go.
And doubly sad for the family, especially when the death is, well, less than an honorable one, and in every paper and across the internet.

c3 said...

This is another one of those context issues, similar to the clerk chasing the toothpaste thief.

When two or more are getting very high or drunk, letting someone "sleep" is not uncommon. When an officer faces a belligerent suspect, thinking its only resisting arrest is not uncommon.

If someone comes into the ER either unarousable or delirious its approached in a very different manner.

This is not meant to put down anyone. ER's don't do so well with "unrousable patients" who are simply very intoxicated but otherwise "OK". Likewise they don't do so well with dangerous criminals (particularly since they tend to leave dangerous weapons such as scissors or scalpels within reach.)

And yes this is very sad. Amazing he was able to hold down his day job.

Meade said...

Andrew Koppel was convicted in 1993 of punching out a senatorial aide in a drunken dust-up in DC and was ordered into alcohol treatment. Three years earlier, he got into a drunken fender bender while driving his father's Mercedes in their home state of Maryland.


At ages 23 and 20. Hard to believe his friends and family weren't aware of a third red flag soon after.

wv: "fgsackes" Oh fgsackes, do NOT give that man another drink!

SteveR said...

Clearly if the bartender was concerned about the guy he would have stopped serving him well before and having failed to so, once he was in very bad shape call 911. Taking him home as an act of kindness?

Meade said...

"Amazing he was able to hold down his day job."

Some "functional alcoholics" are both extremely functional and extremely alcoholic.

Joe said...

Perhaps he had a congenital defect in his heart or some other organ and it was only by chance that he lived this long.

mccullough said...

Dead or in jail is how most alcoholics end up.

bearing said...

About two years ago I was driving with my family in Dayton, Ohio. We spotted a man lying in an empty parking lot in the rain. I pulled into the parking lot; the man was obviously drunk and just as obviously injured (it looked to me like he'd broken a hip).

I called 911 and described the scene.

The dispatcher said, I kid you not: "Is he just passed out drunk? 'Cause if he's just passed out drunk, you can let him lay there, 'cause we don't send out an ambulance for that."

I spent several more minutes trying to convince the dispatcher that the man appeared to be unable to walk because of an injury, not "just" because of drunkenness. We waited until the ambulance actually arrived and loaded the man into the back before we left. I was worried they'd abandon him there.

Michael said...

There but for the Grace of God go I.

edutcher said...

It never occurred to these people that there might be something wrong because he'd been doing this all his adult life.

As Forrest said, "Stupid is as stupid does".

The Crack Emcee said...

Poor Ted Koppel - finally dragged into the gutter. I've always admired him.

Insensitive as it sounds (and I know it is), Koppel dragged plenty of people there on Nightline.

Other than that, I don't doubt his father feels this is more of a relief than anything. Whatever pain the son was in has finally been relieved.

holdfast said...

I'm with Pastafarian - my gut seems to be weaker than my liver, so I would end up on the porcelain intercom to God long before getting acute alcohol poisoning, as long as I avoid jello shots.

Meade - he worked as a lawyer at the NY Housing Authority - I am pretty sure that being a chronic Rummy would not be a problem in that sinecure.

Ralph L said...

If only he'd talked to me on the big white phone.

jrberg3 said...

Who's going to take a slobbering drunk home you've only met that day?

Perhaps another less-slobbering drunk who felt compelled after what he/she thought was a good time imbibing with that person? It actually seems from the story that the two were headed there already:

"Eventually, they took a taxi up to Caban's apartment, stopping at a liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey and beer."

k*thy said...

Some "functional alcoholics" are both extremely functional and extremely alcoholic.

And these are the hardest to reach for treatment – they think they can do it all.

It never occurred to these people that there might be something wrong because he'd been doing this all his adult life.

I’m quite sure it did occur to them and I’m quite sure they tried very thing they could. His drinking and his death are not on them. He had to want something else – and didn’t or couldn’t.

Jeremy said...

The Crack Emcee said..."Poor Ted Koppel - finally dragged into the gutter. I've always admired him."

If you admire the man, why make such an unwarranted crude comment?

I don't understand why you feel that his son dying in such a manner represents him being "dragged into the gutter."

Jeremy said...

dutcher said..."Insensitive as it sounds (and I know it is), Koppel dragged plenty of people there on Nightline."

Who did Koppel ever drag into the gutter?

You're an idiot.

Eric said...

Do you know when it's okay to let somebody sleep it off?

Not if I'm plastered myself.

Fred4Pres said...

We waited until the ambulance actually arrived and loaded the man into the back before we left. I was worried they'd abandon him there.

First responders hate cleaning up after drunks. Especially vomit. Remember 99.9% of them will live (alcohol tends to be a forgiving drug for ODing on). It is that one in a thousand case that goes fatal.

Fred4Pres said...

I am not implying that is ok. But that is the way it is.

Robert Cook said...

The reports state Koppel started off his day of binge drinking at Times Square bar SMITH'S. I walked by SMITH'S Sunday...I wonder if he was in there when I passed by?

I first thought maybe Koppel and his new drinking buddy had gone up to Washington Heights to try to score or do drugs, but I think it's likely the two fellow drunks just bar-hopped all day and it seemed a good idea to head uptown to the one guy's apartment and continue drinking there until they passed out.

Meade said, (referring to early alcoholic incidents in Koppel's life):

"At ages 23 and 20. Hard to believe his friends and family weren't aware of a third red flag soon after."

I have no doubt Koppel's family and friends were all too painfully aware of his alcoholism, and of the likelihood of his having a sad end...but what could they do?

I have a friend who has been battling alcoholism for the past couple of years and there's really nothing anyone can do to stop her from drinking or make her sober up if she won't do what's necessary herself to get healthy...and that, I know, is easier for someone to say than for an alcoholic to just do.

Lynne said...

As far as the marijuana argument goes, I seem to recall reading years ago that pot combined with alcohol suppresses the body's response to alcohol poisoning, thus making it easier to drink yourself to death.

True or false? Anyone know?

theMickey's said...

You dont let them sleep.