Nobody on the Hilltop wants to get “GERMed.” Beyond the stigma associated with having Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service called for you is the fact that you needed emergency medical transport to the emergency room. For an asthma attack or an injury at Yates, getting “GERMed” is not a conscious choice but rather a result of an unfortunate illness or accident. However, around 10 percent of GERMS calls are for alcohol intoxication, and even more are due to injuries on weekend nights that probably would not have happened had it not been for the evening’s festivities. This means that 110 of our 1100 calls in a year were due to irresponsible drinking practices. This is an alarming figure, especially considering that alcohol intoxication is not accidental: It is self-inflicted and easily preventable.

As GERMS since freshman year, we have treated nearly 600 patients. We are writing this article after countless nights of preventable calls, and after treating dozens of patients who are lucky that someone called an ambulance. Years of these nights build frustration that our fellow students, who are educated and insightful during the day, can be so blatantly stupid at night. We do not write this article to didactically change your ways; rather, we write this to publicize the fact that every weekend, Georgetown students almost die due to alcohol intoxication.

A typical Friday night can easily yield five or six drunken patients for GERMS to treat and transport. And make no mistake; these students are not just inexperienced drinkers in their first year at Georgetown. They are seniors and freshmen alike. Most of these patients have lost consciousness and are vomiting all over themselves. This is a life-threatening condition. While GERMS never takes a blood alcohol content on scene, we are often privy to BACs taken at the hospital. It is generally accepted that a BAC over .30 percent is sufficient to stop your breathing, leading to certain death without immediate medical attention. Shockingly, it is not uncommon for a GERMS patient to have a blood alcohol content over .30 percent. This begs the questions, why are so many Hoyas choosing to drink so heavily that they end up on the GERMS stretcher? And, more importantly, why aren’t friends taking responsibility for each other?

The truth is that Georgetown’s drinking culture is flawed. You are encouraged to drink from your first weekend freshman year. However, at no point are you encouraged to stop drinking. Well past the legal limit, beyond speech-slurring, and to the point of stumbling and unconsciousness, Georgetown students go on. What Georgetown needs, in order to avoid the near-death situations that occur every weekend, is a change in culture. A change so that it is acceptable and commonplace for students to look after one another, to cut their friends off once they’ve had enough, and to make sure every Hoya makes it home safe.

The national news reports an epidemic of college binge drinking resulting in deaths across the country. Georgetown is not above such tragedies. Why should we wait until a student dies from alcohol poisoning to make the necessary changes to drinking culture?

As a good friend, the final responsibility comes down to you. Pay attention to those around you. If you see a severely intoxicated student, don’t hesitate to call GERMS (202.687.HELP). GERMS will always respond to any medical emergency at any time for any reason, on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Taylor Burkholder is a senior in the McDonough School of Business and the director of public relations for GERMS. Nathan Srinivas is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and vice president of GERMS.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.

Nobody on the Hilltop wants to get “GERMed.” Beyond the stigma associated with having Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service called for you is the fact that you needed emergency medical transport to the emergency room. For an asthma attack or an injury at Yates, getting “GERMed” is not a conscious choice but rather a result of an unfortunate illness or accident. However, around 10 percent of GERMS calls are for alcohol intoxication, and even more are due to injuries on weekend nights that probably would not have happened had it not been for the evening’s festivities. This means that 110 of our 1100 calls in a year were due to irresponsible drinking practices. This is an alarming figure, especially considering that alcohol intoxication is not accidental: It is self-inflicted and easily preventable.

As GERMS since freshman year, we have treated nearly 600 patients. We are writing this article after countless nights of preventable calls, and after treating dozens of patients who are lucky that someone called an ambulance. Years of these nights build frustration that our fellow students, who are educated and insightful during the day, can be so blatantly stupid at night. We do not write this article to didactically change your ways; rather, we write this to publicize the fact that every weekend, Georgetown students almost die due to alcohol intoxication.

A typical Friday night can easily yield five or six drunken patients for GERMS to treat and transport. And make no mistake; these students are not just inexperienced drinkers in their first year at Georgetown. They are seniors and freshmen alike. Most of these patients have lost consciousness and are vomiting all over themselves. This is a life-threatening condition. While GERMS never takes a blood alcohol content on scene, we are often privy to BACs taken at the hospital. It is generally accepted that a BAC over .30 percent is sufficient to stop your breathing, leading to certain death without immediate medical attention. Shockingly, it is not uncommon for a GERMS patient to have a blood alcohol content over .30 percent. This begs the questions, why are so many Hoyas choosing to drink so heavily that they end up on the GERMS stretcher? And, more importantly, why aren’t friends taking responsibility for each other?

The truth is that Georgetown’s drinking culture is flawed. You are encouraged to drink from your first weekend freshman year. However, at no point are you encouraged to stop drinking. Well past the legal limit, beyond speech-slurring, and to the point of stumbling and unconsciousness, Georgetown students go on. What Georgetown needs, in order to avoid the near-death situations that occur every weekend, is a change in culture. A change so that it is acceptable and commonplace for students to look after one another, to cut their friends off once they’ve had enough, and to make sure every Hoya makes it home safe.

The national news reports an epidemic of college binge drinking resulting in deaths across the country. Georgetown is not above such tragedies. Why should we wait until a student dies from alcohol poisoning to make the necessary changes to drinking culture?

As a good friend, the final responsibility comes down to you. Pay attention to those around you. If you see a severely intoxicated student, don’t hesitate to call GERMS (202.687.HELP). GERMS will always respond to any medical emergency at any time for any reason, on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Taylor Burkholder is a senior in the McDonough School of Business and the director of public relations for GERMS. Nathan Srinivas is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and vice president of GERMS.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.