Young Woman’s Photo of Alcohol-Induced Coma Goes Viral

By Victoria Kim 07/07/16

After recovering from an alcohol-induced coma, Hanna Lottritz decided to share the details of the "worst 48 hours" of her life to promote responsible drinking.

Young Woman’s Photo of Alcohol-Induced Coma Goes Viral
via Hannah Lottritz

Six months before turning 21, Hanna Lottritz fell into a 24-hour alcohol-induced coma. This is why, she explained in a birthday blog post, “I will not be taking birthday shots and getting wasted tonight.” 

Lottritz wrote about the experience, which she called the “worst 48 hours of my life,” on her personal blog in January. She shared a chilling photo of her unconscious in the hospital bed, hooked up to a breathing tube and IV needles. She urged her audience to share the photo. 

“If I can help just one person by sharing my experience, then I will be absolutely ecstatic,” she wrote. Her wish came true. Her blog post has since been picked up by major media outlets like Today and the Huffington Post. "I was very surprised that my story went viral," she told The Fix via email. "I originally wrote it to warn friends in the Reno area and then it went everywhere." 

“I am writing this because I didn’t realize the importance of drinking responsibly until I was waking up from a coma, and I don’t want anyone to go through what my family and I went through,” she wrote on her blog. Lottritz recounted the events on July 25, 2015 that preceded her blacking out and waking up in a hospital in Reno, Nevada. 

She was at Night in the Country, a three-day country music festival in Yerington, with friends. She had started drinking later than the group and “felt a little behind.” Eventually she wound up trying to outdrink a friend. “One of my guy friends and I were seeing who could take the longest chug from a bottle of Black Velvet Whiskey,” she wrote. 

After that, she blacked out, collapsed, and was flown to the hospital. Lottritz’s BAC was .41 when she arrived at Renown Regional Medical Center. She suffered from acute respiratory failure and acute alcohol intoxication. 

“They asked me if I was trying to kill myself by drinking so much. This question hit me the hardest,” she wrote.

Lottritz told Today that her sister was the one who took the photo of her in her hospital bed. “She wanted to show me when I woke up,” she said. “She just wanted me to make sure I knew how serious it was. It definitely worked.”

The journalism student hasn’t sworn off drinking completely, but won’t be binge drinking again any time soon. "I just want people to know that they do not have to be afraid of alcohol, but they do need to take it seriously," she told The Fix. "One glass of wine won't put someone in the situation I was in, but abusing alcohol and treating it like a game will. I also realize that there are some people who can't stop after one drink, and those people are better off avoiding alcohol."

On her 21st birthday this past January, she says she took it easy, going out for sushi and then dancing with friends.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr