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'The Doctors Thought I Was Brain Dead' Student Hanna Lottritz Warns Of Binge Drinking Dangers

08/01/2016 10:11 | Updated 08 January 2016

When Hanna Lottritz woke up on July 27 last year, she thought it would be like any other day. She had breakfast and prepared for a day out with her friends at a country music festival in Nevada.

But it ended up being "the worst 48 hours of [her] life".

The 20-year-old, who admits she has a competitive nature, engaged in a drinking competition with a male friend - seeing who could take the longest chug from a bottle of whisky.

That was the last thing she remembered before she fell into a 24 hour coma, and woke up in hospital with her mum holding her hand, and telling her everything was going to be ok.

hanna lottritz

Hanna Lottritz published this picture of herself in hospital to warn others

Lottritz, a student at the University of Nevada, had collapsed minutes after downing even more whisky. She stopped breathing, and was flown to the nearest hospital in Reno.

"I was in critical condition, suffering from acute respiratory failure and acute alcohol intoxication," she explained on her blog. "The doctors thought I was brain dead because I was completely unresponsive. My pupils were sluggishly reactive, I had no corneal reflex and I wasn’t responding to verbal or painful stimuli."

Lottritz finally woke up about 24 hours after her arrival at the hospital. "I had a tube down my throat and my hands were restrained so I couldn’t pull it out.

"The doctors and nurses told me how lucky I was to be alive. They told me that they didn’t think I would make it through the night. They asked me if I was trying to kill myself by drinking so much. This question hit me the hardest."

On Friday, the government issued alcohol new guidelines for Brits, with the UK's chief medical officers saying any amount of booze can increase the risk of cancer.

The new advice says men and women should consume no more than 14 units a week - equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine, while pregnant women should not drink at all.

If people do drink over three or more days they should have some alcohol-free days, but they should not "save up" units and drink them all in one sitting - as heavy drinking sessions increase the risk of accidents and injury.

Lottritz added: "From my hospital bed in the Intensive Care Unit, my eyes were opened to the seriousness of being irresponsible with alcohol.

"The next day when I was discharged from the hospital, I realised that the way I looked at alcohol would be changed forever.

"Today is my 21st birthday, a day I have been looking forward to for quite some time now.

"I will not be taking birthday shots and getting wasted tonight. Instead, I plan on having dinner and maybe a glass of wine with my closest friends and family."

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