A Teenage Girl Dies After Inhaling Helium At a Party
It is no secret that kids do crazy things. Somethings are just stupid, and somethings are tragic. A teenage girl died after inhaling helium at party.Last weekend, 14-year-old Ashley Long told her parents she was going to a slumber party. So while her parents were expecting her to spend the night watching videos and eating popcorn two blocks away, she and some of her friends got in a car and drove to a party with booze and marijuana.
After drinking on the drive, and downing more drinks party, it came time for Ashley to take her turn on a tank of helium that everyone else was inhaling to make their voices sound funny.
"That helium tank got going around," said Ashley's stepfather, Justin Earp, who learned what happened from talking to Ashley's friends at the party. "It got to my daughter. My daughter didn't want to do it. It was peer pressure. They put a mask up to her face. They said it would be OK. 'It's not gonna hurt you. It'll just make you laugh and talk funny.'"
Instead, she passed out and later died at a hospital, the result of an obstruction in a blood vessel caused by inhaling helium from a pressurized tank.
It's a common party trick — someone sucks in helium to give their voice a cartoon character sound. I've even inhaled helium out of a balloon. But the death exposes the rare but real dangers of inhaling helium, especially from a pressurized tank.
Dr. Mark Morocco, associate professor of emergency medicine at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles, said what happens is similar to when a scuba diver surfaces too quickly. A gas bubble gets into the bloodstream, perhaps through some kind of tear in a blood vessel, and can block blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke.
Death from inhaling helium is so rare that the American Association Poison Control Centers lumps it in with other gases, such as methane and propane.
Police have arrested 27-year-old Katherine McAloon, who lived in the condo, on charges of providing alcohol and marijuana to minors. Four men who were at the party have been questioned by police, but have not been charged, said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau. More charges may be filed after police turn over their evidence to the district attorney.
The teen was just in 8th grade and died from doing something stupid. It is important for kids to know the dangers of everything! This is a very sad and disturbing story.