Youth fell down stairs and died after binge
Published 18/06/2011 | 05:00
A 19-YEAR-OLD who repeatedly performed his "party trick" of downing a naggin of vodka in one go sustained severe head injuries when he fell down stairs, an inquest heard yesterday.
Shane Regan of Dromkerry, Fossa, Killarney, died in Kerry General Hospital (KGH) on August 26, 2010, a day after he had fallen down the stairs at his rented house in Caherane Village, Tralee, following a drinking binge.
His friends had covered him with a duvet and decided not to move him because they had seen him pass out before when he consumed alcohol.
Mr Regan suffered brain damage in the fall but hypothermia and bronchial pneumonia had also been contributory factors in his death, the inquest into his death heard.
His girlfriend Jessica Clough said Shane began drinking vodka at the Caherane house earlier that day with a number of friends.
"Shane was doing his party trick where he'd drink half a bottle of vodka in one go and then drink a mixer," she told Tralee Coroner's Court.
Mr Regan had bought a litre and a naggin of Smirnoff vodka and a bottle of Blue WKD.
"He drank the naggin in one sup and then filled it again from the litre bottle and did it again. He did this three times and was twisted drunk at that stage," Ms Clough added.
Later, he accompanied Ms Clough to his bedroom but she noticed that he had backed out of the room. "I heard a number of bangs and then saw him on the ground," she said.
Ms Clough said she had wanted to move him but another friend had said to leave him alone because he was "snoring and happy out".
They covered him with a duvet and Ms Clough lay next to him on the floor for about an hour before retiring upstairs about an hour later.
The following morning she tried to wake him but got no response. "I then threw water on his head but he didn't flinch," she said.
His parents arrived, called an ambulance and he was put on a ventilator in the KGH intensive care unit where he died the following morning.
Assistant state pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster who performed the post mortem said the teenager had sustained a very severe head injury and brain damage consistent with a fall down stairs. Alcohol had also caused the onset of hypothermia even though he had been covered with a blanket.
The inquest returned a verdict of death due to brain-swelling consistent with a fall, with hypothermia and bronchial pneumonia as contributory factors.