Jessica Mary Hunter impulsively took Ecstasy for the first time at the Austin City Limits music festival on October 5th.
She was dead three days later.
Jessica, 21, was about to start school at Texas State University in San Marcos when she attended the popular music festival with her friends. Shortly after taking the pill, she “didn’t feel right” so her friend encouraged her to throw up. Jessica then collapsed on the sidewalk, had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics were barely able to revive her before she was rushed to Seton Medical Center.
When Jessica’s parents, Debbie and Alan Hunter, arrived at the hospital, they found their only child in the intensive care unit. Doctors struggled to lower Jessica’s body temperature while they kept her in a medically-induced coma.
Ecstasy is a compound that contains MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and, typically, some form of stimulant. Although pure MDMA is also known as “Molly,” it differs from Ecstasy because the latter contains other ingredients such as methamphetamine, caffeine or amphetamine. Jessica’s toxicology report will not be released for several weeks, so it’s currently unknown what actually killed her.
Ecstasy usually causes euphoria, but it can have side effects that aggravate pre-existing conditions.“You have an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, you lose thermal regulation- the body’s ability to regulate temperature- and it makes your body more prone to experience cardiac arrhythmia, which can be lethal,” said Dr. Terence McCarthy, the vice chief of staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.
For two agonizing days, Debbie and Alan watched their daughter die. Blood poured from Jessica’s ears and nose and her temperature spiked to 106 degrees. “Her eyes were open- you could see that there was nothing there,” Debra told the Dallas Star Telegram.
In the early hours of October 8th, doctors informed the parents that a CT scan revealed hemorrhaging in Jessica’s brain. The Hunter family decided to remove her from life support. “We gathered around her bed and prayed,” her father said. “We started this new journey we are on now.”
Over 500 people attended Jessica’s funeral at NorthWood Church, where she had been baptized as a child. Despite the tragedy, Debbie and Alan hope that this incident can help educate others about the dangers of drug use. “We are trying to get as much good out of this as we can,” Alan said. “I want people to know that she was real. Maybe if they can make the connection. If we can just stop one from making the same choice.”
Image via Dallas Star Telegram