Teen's Death a Sad Lesson for "ER" Watchers - NBC4 Washington

Teen's Death a Sad Lesson for "ER" Watchers

17-year-old died after binge drinking



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    "ER" concludes one of the most successful prime-time runs in television history Thursday night with a story inspired by a Redding, Calif., teen.

    Three months after the death of Shelby Lyn Allen, TV watchers got a lesson on how she died.

    That's because the Redding, Calif. teen's story inspired the storyline of the finale of "ER," which aired April 2.

    Shelby was just 17 when she died Dec. 20 from alcohol poisoning and while finale was not a step-by-step account of what happened to her, it was inspired by the events that led up to her death.

    The show's executive producer, John Wells, was married to Shelby's aunt but the couple split up before the girl reached her teenage years. When he heard about the Shelby's binge-drinking-related death, he decided to incorporate it into the show.

    The high school junior partied with her friends and drank nearly 20 shots of vodka before she passed out, according to coroner's investigators. Her friends moved her to a bathroom and helped prop her body up by a toilet so she wouldn't choke on her own vomit. They found her dead the next day, Redding.com reported.

    On the finale aired April 2, a group of teenage girls surrounded one of their friends in the emergency room and told the doctor that their friend, "Stacy," won a drinking contest.

    But, unlike the scene in the hit show's finale, Shelby never made it to the emergency room.

    "She hadn't really drank that much,"  Wells explains, "and I think a lot of people are unaware of how dangerous binge drinking can be."

    The message Shelby's parents want to send is simple: call 911 at the first sign of alcohol poisoning.

    "All we want is people to step up, and take action, when they see somebody in distress." Shelby's dad, Steve pleads. "Help your fellow man, your fellow person, and get medical attention they need."


    Shelby's parents started the organization Shelby's Rules to spread awareness about the dangers of binge drinking.

    "John is still a brother to me, he is close to my family." Debbie Allen, Shelby's mother said on the non-profit's website. "He, like the rest of our family, was devastated by Shelby's death and when he heard that Steve and I were starting an educational foundation about alcohol poisoning he decided to insert a segment on alcohol poisoning into ER's final episode."

    The site includes a page titled "Shelby's Last Words Letter," where Shelby bids farewell to her loved ones "just in case the plane crashes" on her trip to Australia.

    In the eerie goodbye letter, Shelby wrote:
    "Whichever way I might have have died, I’m sure I didn’t get any last words. So these are my words. I’m creating them now, just in case something totally unexpected happens and I am wiped off the face of the Earth you love and I love (well now loved) so much ...  I’m not coming back, and all of you have to accept that and move on."