Student left in coma after university drinking initiation gone wrong

A 19-year-old student in the US has been left in a coma after being forced to down a bottle of vodka as part of a fraternity initiation ceremony.

Daniel Santulli had gone into cardiac arrest when he was found inside a car by University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, with his blood alcohol content at 0.486 percent, over six times the legal driving limit.

He was forced into the act at Phi Gamma Delta house of the University of Missouri on October 20 last year, according to a lawsuit filed by his family, the Columbia Missourian reported.

Daniel, of Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, was resuscitated and put on a ventilator but has allegedly suffered significant brain damage.

The legal papers, submitted to Boone County Circuit Court, said he is still "unresponsive, unaware of his surroundings, unable to communicate and [with] a significant injury to his brain".

The family's lawyer David Bianchi said it was the "worst" injury caused by a fraternity pledge he'd ever seen in his 30 years in the profession, according to reports.

The suit names the national Phi Gamma Delta organisation, as well as individual members at the university's chapter.

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The chapter has since been suspended.

Ron Caudill, the fraternity’s national executive director, said in a statement: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Danny and the Santulli family during this difficult time.

“We have received the civil complaint and are reviewing it…We expect all chapters and members to follow the law and abide by the fraternity’s policies, which prohibit hazing and the provision of alcohol to minors."

"These are part of a pattern of unsafe and dangerous behaviour that represents the traditions of the fraternity," he added.

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