Volume 76, Number 18 | September 20 - 26, 2006

Bobby ‘Apocalypse’ Gurtler, former soundman, on life support after O.D.

By Lori Haught

Former Palladium soundman Bobby Gurtler a.k.a. “Bobby Apocalypse” is in a coma at Beth Israel Hospital after friends say he overdosed on a bad batch of heroin.

Gurtler had just recently gotten out of jail after a four-year stint for drug-related charges and had been staying clean, according to friends.

“He was trying to do good,” John Penley said. “Then the next thing we found out he was in Beth Israel in a coma for about 10 days.”

Penley said Gurtler’s mother has already given permission to take him off life support, but that doctors are awaiting word from his wife in Ireland.

Another friend of Gurtler’s, Chris Flash, likened him to a gentle giant.

“He is a good soul, a good and decent person, and he is always there for his friends,” Flash said.

He said Gurtler was found unresponsive in a restaurant bathroom on Sept. 10. He went without a pulse for 20 minutes and it was surprising that the paramedics were even able to revive him, Flash said.

David Rosenthal, director of the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center, said the center has been warning people since the spring about heroin being laced with Fentanyl. A powerful pain reliever, Fentanyl can be deadly alone, but is particularly deadly when mixed with opiates such as heroin.

The Harm Reduction Center has been training people to prevent overdoses and has been providing addicts with Narcan, or Naloxone, to jumpstart breathing in the case of overdose.

According to Tom Smith, coordinator for the Narcan program at the Harm Reduction Center, there has not been a recent jump in the number of refills, however, so they could not confirm if there is a bad batch going around.

Flash said the doctors implied that Fentanyl was in Gurtler’s system. One of the overdose alerts from the L.E.S.H.R.C. says Fentanyl is particularly dangerous with reduced tolerance, such as when just getting out of jail or a rehabilitation program.

Clayton Patterson, who knew Gurtler back from when he did sound for the former Palladium disco and the Pyramid club, said that the drug scene was ready and waiting for him when he got out.

“There are still as many drugs down here as there always were,” Patterson said. “The bars camouflage it, but heroin is rampant.”


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