Frankie Muniz and Why Celebrities Die of Overdoses
When Frankie Muniz called 911 last week to report that his girlfriend had punched him in the face while he was sleeping, he instantly regretted picking up the phone. That same hesitation has cost the lives of countless celebrities.
You can hear it in his voice on the tape of the 911 call — moments into the call he told the dispatcher “I don’t want there to be a big problem, I just want it to stop.” When the dispatcher asked for his name, a normal part of the 911 incident documentation procedure, he started back-pedaling.
“I don’t want to make a big deal because I am a celebrity,” Muniz said. “I don’t want there to be a big deal. I don’t want any charges — I just want her to stop throwing stuff!”
And of course, he was right. It was a big deal, at least in the world of celebrity gossip. The internet exploded with stories about Muniz’s suicide attempt (he’d allegedly held a loaded gun to his head while begging his girlfriend to stop her rampage) and this incident will forever be associated with what seems to be an otherwise normal relationship between him and girlfriend Elycia Turnbow.
He needed help, the dispatcher just wanted to send some officers over to calm Elycia down, but throughout the call it is clear that Muniz wishes he never dialed. And that is precisely why celebrities are more likely to die from an overdose than anyone else.
When Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger overdosed, the people that found them wasted precious time trying trying to figure out how to handle the celebrity angle instead of calling for help. When Ledger’s masseuse discovered his unconscious body, her first call was to Mary-Kate Olson ( presumably to get PR advice)! It took the masseuse 15 minutes to finally call 911, during which time Ledger may have stopped breathing and died.
So should celebrities be required to take a course in emergency protocol? Should they have a separate private number to call for help (maybe 911*?) Or should 911 emergency medical calls be governed by the same HIPAA regulations that protect the privacy of every other type of medical data so that people in emergency situations don’t need to worry about their career getting derailed by an embarrassing tape of a stressful situation? Tell me what you think in the comments, but please remember— I don’t want to make a big deal. I’m a celebrity.
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