This was a radio promotion at a station in Sacramento. Contestants drank water and he who held it the longest without going to the restroom - won the Nintendo Wii. Seems simple. Radio stations conduct contests like this every day. This contest killed a woman. A 28 year old mother, trying to win the game system for her kids, overdosed on water (water intoxication) - and died.
The first thing I asked myself was, could I ever have been dumb enough to conduct this contest? Even with hindsight - (and it's 20/20 and all) - I would have never ever been a part of a contest like this. With any thought at all - an educated person would conclude this contest was "risky" at best. The radio hosts and the management should have thought it through. Certainly they would have discovered the risk. Hell, a simple phone call to a family doctor would've alerted them to the possibility of disaster. They apparently didn't make the call. The contest went on - and the lady died.
Now, the fallout. The radio stations company, Entercom, is trying to "distance" themselves from the whole thing. Entercom has "suspended" the morning show - whom they apparently blame for the incident. Undoubtedly, they'll claim the whole thing was the idea and creation of the morning show - and they had nothing to do with it. This of course, to cover their asses in the sure to follow - lawsuit.
This is as wrong as wrong can be. Entercom brass in Sacramento knew completely what their morning show was doing. It's on the air!!!!! This promotion might not have been sent to the company lawyers, but certainly the station PD & GM knew what was going on. What happened was preventable - Entercom didn't prevent it - and they'll have to pay. Legally, this is open & shut. I feel badly for the family of the dead contestant - but I also feel badly for the stupid on air people - who've been abandoned by their company. They were no doubt dumb, but in this case this was a collaboration in "group stupidity".