Medical students must take the Hippocratic Oath and one of the promises is “First, do no harm.”
On Saturday, Circling the News received an email from a reader: “Aid car called to picnic area below parking lot in rec area close to the library. Word I got in passing was a young man overdosed and his ‘friend’ ran away.”
Later, a resident posted on Nextdoor that the incident occurred at the Recreation Center around 6:15 p.m. and a 15-year-old, who had overdosed on drugs, was left by his friends.
“Thankfully two women from out of town saw him and called 911. Our local fire department arrived minutes later with an ambulance and fire truck. The boy was limp as a rag doll and vomiting as the paramedics put him on a stretcher. It was a very sad scene to witness. These boys need to realize that leaving a near-death scene is not right and their parents need to know about their actions as well. We have a great fire department and their response time and professionalism is outstanding.”
We have learned that the teen will recover.
Every parent of a middle or high school student needs to sit down and discuss this story with them. They need to explain that if someone takes too many drugs or alcohol, that person can start vomiting and suffocate on their own vomit. Tell them about Tyler Skaggs (the L.A. Angels pitcher who died like this last year).
Explain you know they would never do anything like that—BUT if they ever see someone they think may be in trouble, call 911. Tell them there will be no blame and no one will get in trouble.
Then we need to get our kids back in school. I was raised in a farming community. Teenagers had lots of activities that included working with the animals and helping in the fields. The teens who played sports would go home after practice and do chores. The kids who were in drama would go home and milk the cows and come back to play practice later.
Our Palisades youth rarely have this kind of physical rigor in their lives away from high school. They have no chores—gardeners and maids come to almost every house.
What we’ve done is substitute chores with extracurricular activities, such as clubs and sports. When we took away school this spring, we also took away those opportunities. We’ve taken away kids’ daily in-person interactions.
“First do no harm.”
Sitting at home with a computer and a teacher explaining a math theorem doesn’t present teens with social interaction, which is crucial to our youth.
I was shocked to learn in Erik Larson’s “The Splendid and the Vile” that teens and young adults went to dances and socialized in London amidst the German bombings during World War II.
It might be fine to stay home for those of us who are married and have raised our children, but we are damaging our young by forcing them into “retirement.” There is only so much porn they can download on the internet before they seek other excitement.
A few weeks ago, I noted that the Recreation Center has become a place for kids to drink and do drugs since no one is around using the ball fields. I don’t think sending more police to the site will fix it. We need to get our kids busy again, we need to give them activities. They need to interact.
How many people under the age of 17 have died from Covid-19 in California? One, as of August 13, and that person had underlying health conditions.
I’m not saying that teens won’t catch Covid-19, but for the majority, the virus is not a death sentence.
We don’t close our schools during flu season, and in 2019-2020 the CDC reported that the flu season was especially bad for children, with 170 pediatric deaths reported.
Nationwide, there were between 39-65 million cases of flu reported with 24,000 to 62,000 flu deaths (and that’s often despite having a flu shot). The CDC does not know the exact number of people who were sick with influenza last year because influenza is not a reportable disease in most areas of the U.S., unlike Covid-19.
What does kill teens? Drug use and suicide, and we almost saw that this weekend in Pacific Palisades. In 2017, there were more than 596 suicides in the 10-to-14-year-old group and 6,211 suicide deaths in the 15-to-24-year-old group. After unintentional injury, suicide was the leading cause of death, the highest it’s been since the government started collecting statistics in 1960. Doctors are worried that the trend will become even worse with the pandemic isolation.
An October 2019 Washington Post story quoted Lisa M. Horowitz, a pediatric psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health: “Just looking at these [suicide] numbers, it’s hard not to find them completely disturbing. It should be a call to action. If you had kids suddenly dying at these rates from a new disease or infection, there would be a huge outcry. But most people don’t even know this is happening. It’s not recognized for the public health crisis it has become.”
“First do no harm.”
Open the schools, save our kids from something far worse than Covid-19.