Teen Emily Bauer Left Blind and Paralyzed After Taking Synthetic Marijuana

A Texas teen nearly died after smoking "synthetic marijuana" last month and is now completely paralyzed and blind from a series of strokes. 

Emily Bauer, 17, smoked the substance, often labelled as "potpourri" or "Spice," with her friends. Within minutes, she told her boyfriend she had a migraine and needed to lay down. 

She then began running into walls, urinating on herself, hallucinating and acting violently. 

The substance is said to produce marijuana-like effects, but the herbal mix has chemicals that can leave its users fighting for their life. 

It is advertised as a legal alternative to weed. Though many states have outlawed it, it is still legal in others, as manufacturers responded to recent protests against it by slightly altering the compound.

Police were called after her friends failed to control Bauer. She was taken to Northwest Cypress Hospital where she bit guardrails and tried to bite medical staff. 

Her parents thought she was still high from the drug, and planned to take her home the next day, hoping they could teach her the dangers of the drug.

But 24 hours later, Bauer was still in the same state. 

"We didn't think it was as big of a deal until 24 hours later she was still violent and hurting herself. We realized you're not supposed to stay high this long," her older sister, Blake, said. 

Doctors then put her in an induced coma and performed a series of tests on her brain. They discovered she had a series of strokes that caused severe vasculitis, meaning the blood vessels in her brain contracted so much that the flow of blood and oxygen to her brain was cut off. 

"In four days' time, we went from thinking everything is going to be OK and we'll put her in drug rehabilitation to now you don't know if she's going to make it," stepfather Tommy Bryant said.

Her blood vessels began to expand again, but pressure in her brain grew rapidly. They were forced to drill a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure, but her brain was still damaged. 

"We met with Neurology team who showed us Emily's brain images," mother Tonya Bauer said. "They told us that all white areas on images were dead. It looked to us at least 70 percent of the images were white."

They warned her parents that she might not be able to recognize her family and that she likely would not be able to use her arms or legs again. 

Her parents decided to remove her breathing tube and stop all nourishment on December 16, but Emily continued fighting.

Tonya entered the room one morning and greeted her daughter with, "Good morning, I love you." A small, hoarse voice replied, "I love you, too." They were shocked.

"Even though she couldn't move, is blind and could hardly be aware of what was going on around her, she laughed with us as we made jokes and listened to her soft whisper replies," Blake said. 

"It is my little sister shining through, in every way she can manage, with every ounce of strength."

Emily is now making slow progress. She is able to eat solid food and has begun moving her arms and legs. Doctors are unsure of how much control she will recover. 

Her parents started an organization called Synthetic Awareness for Emily in an effort to educate teens and parents about the dangers of the drug. 



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