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The Dangers of Sugar

The 911 Transcript

Dispatch: 911 emergency

Caller: Uh, hi, this is Mrs. Robert Cole calling on behalf of my husband. We’re at 1612 South Antoine Street.

Dispatch: What’s the emergency, Mrs. Cole?

Mrs. Cole: So… I don’t know— my husband thinks he got his head stuck in the dryer. He’s always doing this sort of thing though. We go to a lot of trouble and it turns out to be nothing. But we’ve tried about everything we can think of and— I don’t know.

Dispatch: You said his head is caught in a dryer?

Mrs. Cole: A clothes dryer, yes. It looks like the door slammed shut on his neck, uh, while he was pulling something out. Maybe? I didn’t see what happened; I just got back from the market. He’s standing in front of the dryer, kind of bent over, his head’s inside of it, and the door’s shut. I just— Robert, how did you even manage it?

Dispatch: He’s conscious then?

Mrs. Cole: Let me check. (passage of approx. eight words, indistinct)

Mrs. Cole: I can’t tell. I don’t think so.

Dispatch: Can you open the door?

Mrs. Cole: Let me check….

(Mrs. Cole can be heard putting down the phone. Approx. three seconds later she can be heard struggling to open the dryer door.)

Mrs. Cole: Oh God! (several words, indistinct)

Mrs. Cole (panting): There’s a lot of blood— He’s bleeding, from his neck.

Dispatch: Okay, an ambulance is on the way. You need to apply preassure to the wound, Mrs. Cole, and don’t disconnect. I’ll stay on the line.

The Coroner’s Report


I, HERMAN SYLVESTER, Sheriff-Coroner of the County of Washoe, State of Nevada, certify an inquiry and investigation was held in the death of ROBERT NICHOLAS COLE, a 42 years old male, born in New Mexico. The inquiry and investigation revealed that the decedent died on the 19th day of June, 1955 at 1612 South Antoine Street in Reno as follows:



Sustained following INJURIES FROM EXCESS DIETARY SUGAR. The incident occurred at 1612 South Antoine Street in Reno at an unknown hour on June 19, 1955. I certify that death occurred from the cause and in the manner stated above in accordance with the written findings contained herein.

Signed this 15th day of March, 1955


Recollection of Maurice Sinclair

When Bob died it wasn’t so much a shock, really. He was always getting into tight spots, something of a daredevil. He got himself out of ’em too, but, well, we all sort of knew, you know, that one day he wouldn’t. It was that daring that we loved about him. So when we finally learned what got him, that he died from eating too much sugar, I thought, you must be joking! Look at him, his head’s nearly ripped clean off.

But now, looking back, you know he did have a sweet tooth? He must’ve drunk a half-dozen colas a day for as long as I knew him. My doctor— later on I asked my doctor about it, because I drank my share of cola too, and he explained how the sugar eats away at the lining of the throat, and if this goes on long enough your head’ll just come right off and all your juices’ll spill all over the floor, just like Bob’s did. Well, I hardly have to tell you I haven’t touched a soft drink since 1963. Not even once.

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