Hyperhydration - Death By Water For a Wii
However, this contest would kill Jennifer Strange.
So last Friday, after signing a liability waiver form which consistented of pubicity jargon, 18 contestants were given 8 ounce bottles of water to drink every 15 minutes. They'd all yell "Wii!" and guzzle the water bottles. All the while, the radio DJs would spray the window with a hose or turn on a faucet in order to tempt contestants to go pee. One by one, the competitors dropped out.
James Ybarra had to quit. "They told us if you don't feel like you can do this, don't put your health in risk."
However, a nurse did go on the air to warn the DJs that drinking too much water was dangerous. One of the DJs didn't take her warning seriously and reminded the listeners that the contestants had signed some waiver.
Mr. Ybarra said he had drank 5 of those 8 oz bottles of water when the DJs then gave them larger bottles of water. He quit right there and then. "My bladder couldn't handle it anymore."
Jennifer Strange kept going, and eventually won second place. She was on her way to Radiological Associates where she works, but couldn't make it. Jennifer called Laura Rios, a co-woker en route. "She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad." Jennifer complained of severe nausea as well.
After co-workers unsuccessfully tried to contact Jennifer at home, they called her mother. When she arrived, she found Jennifer dead in her home.
How did this tragedy happen?
It's called hyperhydration, or water intoxication. It's a rare occurance, as most of us are probably dehydrated actually. The act of consuming too much water in one sitting can kill you. Drinking all that water in a short amount of time throws your whole electrolyte balance out of whack. And when that happens, there can be fatal consequences.
With the overdilution of sodium in your blood, the cells work to balance everything out, creating an osmotic shift in the process. In other words, with all that water accumulating on the outside of the cell wall - sodium is drawn out of the cell to restore the electrolyte balance. Since the water outside contains less electrolytes than what's inside the cell, the water is drawn into the cell through osmosis. The cell keeps sucking up water until it bursts.
The cell membranes then begin to literally burst, unable to take the tremendous osmotic pressure. A person will experience light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, massive headaches. Severe low levels of sodium in the blood can also lead to seizures and death.
How much is too much?
Normally, an average sized guy can consume about 3 liters of water at the absolute maximum in one sitting. For those metrically challenged, that's more than three-fourths of a gallon of water (1 gallon = ~3.8 liters). Other factors can alter this limit.
One of the contestants, James Ybarra, said he consumed 40 ounces of water before quitting. That's one-third of a gallon of water, or about 1.26 liters. That would make sense that he would quit at that point, since he was trying to hold off going to the bathroom.
Judging from what her fellow contestants reported, Jennifer Strange drank well over half a gallon. Being a woman, she's much more succeptible to water intoxication. Her body weight is less, as is the sodium concentration in her blood.
A human with lower sodium content in her blood could die after just 1.8 liters of water consumed in one sitting (or .48 gallons). Jennifer kept going after that initial half gallon of water, which ultimately led to her death.
So who is to blame? The DJs on the Morning Rave morning show? 107.9 The End radio station, which is owned by Entercom Corporation? Or is Jennifer Strange responsible for her own death?
*By the way, if you want to send Trish, the female DJ on The Rave - a message via her My Space page, click HERE. You can also e-mail her HERE.
*If you want to e-mail Lukas, the DJ from the show with the birdnest hairdo, do that HERE.
*And finally, Manny - the morning show DJ with the stupid ass grin on his face can be e-mailed right about...HERE.
And that ends my public service announcement...