A new disease or an excuse?

How did Affluenza lead to the deaths of four individuals and injury of another?

Health care professionals who are responsible for treating injury and illness may be unfamiliar with the word "affluenza." The term sounds like a disease, perhaps even something that can be contagious. While the condition has taken the blame for four deaths in recent news, there's much debate over whether or not there's any validity to the matter.

Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old from Texas, was driving drunk in June 2013 when he crashed his car.1 The result: four dead and one injured. Despite the fact that Couch was drunk and underage, he cited his affluenza as the cause of the incident. So, what is it?

The Washington Post explained that symptoms of this condition include wealth (and a lot of it), happiness (perhaps in excess) and an abundance of possessions (presumably expensive ones).2 Children with affluenza are unlike to suffer any consequences for the own wrongdoing, likely thanks to their parents' hefty bank accounts.

Although many question Couch's defense, it seems to have worked in his favor. The judge on his case sentenced him to 10 years of probation and time spent in a long-term rehabilitation facility. Yet, people like Richard Segura, an attorney at the University of Texas at Austin Criminal Defense Clinic, feel as though the boy got off due to his being spoiled.3

Certainly there is plenty of debate to come revolving around affluenza, but it is unlike that clinicians will see it in their hospitals any time soon. So, in the meantime, professionals can purchase surgical instruments and other equipment necessary to help prevent infection and the spread of diseases from Medex Supply.

1 CNN Health, "'Affluenza:' Is it real?" December 13, 2013
2 The Washington Post, "The Affluenza defense" December 12, 2013
3 The Associated Press, "Sentence in Texas teen's fatal DWI wreck stirs IRE" December 12, 2013

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