Woman left paralysed after binging on laughing gas for three days at a time

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Kerry Donaldson now needs around-the-clock care from her dad (Pictures: Kennedy News and Media)

A young woman can no longer walk, eat or wash herself after spending years regularly taking laughing gas.

Kerry Donaldson, 25, started inhaling nitrous oxide in 2017, when her and her friends would take it casually on weekends as a ‘social thing’.

‘Everybody was doing it,’ she said.

But Kerry’s use of the drug – often called NOS or balloons – soon became more frequent and eventually got to the stage where she would often binge fo days at a time.

She said: ‘I was using them for three days and then I’d be vomiting for the next few days.

‘I wouldn’t be able to drink water or eat anything. I’d be sick and sleep for like 12 hours, I was unable to do much.

‘Then I’d wake up and do it all over again, it’d be like a cycle.’

Kerry, from Newham, Greater London, eventually started losing feeling in her hands and legs and was taken to hospital multiple times.

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Kerry started doing NOS in 2017, when everyone around her was doing it (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

She said: ‘My B12 levels were low so I was put on B12 injections. At the time, I didn’t care. I knew it was damaging me, but I didn’t care.’

Kerry only decided to quit in 2020, when she lost feeling in her left leg.

But the damage was already done and she spent about a year and a half walking with a crutch and receiving vitamin B12 injections.

Kerry was also suffering with pain in her lower back that she ‘knew was because of the balloons’, but she kept ignoring it.

By January this year, the pain was so bad she could not even manage a few steps.

She went to hospital where doctors found a slipped disc and nerve damage, which has left her unable to walk.

‘This was obviously caused by the balloons. I’d left it for so long and hadn’t gotten it treated so the damage had gotten worse,’ she said.

Kerry has been in a wheelchair since she was discharged in March (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

Kerry stopped doing NOS when she was hospitalised in 2020 after losing feeling in her leg (Picture: Kennedy News and Media)

Kerry stayed in hospital for five weeks before she was discharged in March.

She now needs around-the-clock care from her dad and she is unable to do much by herself.

Kerry said: ‘My dad has to take me to the shower and the bath has been altered to make it easier for me to get in and out.

‘All my meals are prepared for me by my dad. He’s my carer, I’m so appreciative of him, he’s changed what he does with his life to cater for me.’

Kerry has spoken out about her experience to ‘turn it around into a positive’ and stop others from going through the same thing.

She said: ‘I’m trying to make the best of the situation. Of course I regret using nitrous oxide, I wish I was more educated.

‘I wish I knew then what I know now, as that would have probably prevented me from using it.

‘I want to go into schools and colleges to speak to young people and educate them. I want to go to universities too, as I know balloons are used a lot there.

‘I know there’ll be a lot of good to come out from speaking out, and that’s what is important to me.’

What is nitrous oxide (NOS)?

Nitrous oxide is a gas legally used in medicine and catering.

It is often sold in smaller silver cannisters for catering and events and this is usually how users get hold of it.

The most common way to do NOS as a drug is to transfer the gas into a balloon and inhale the balloon.

Some people inhale the NOS straight from the cannister but this is extremely dangerous.

The desired effect is to feel giggly, relaxed, euphoric and distort reality. It can also make people feel anxious, paranoid and dizzy. The effects only last for about two minutes.

The gas works by temporarily preventing oxygen from reaching the blood.

Source: Frank

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