Doctors infuse five liters of beer to save man from alcohol poisoning death

By Dang Khoa, Hoang TaoJanuary 11, 2019 | 12:01 am PT
Doctors had to perfuse a man's stomach with 15 cans of beer to prevent him from dying of alcohol poisoning.

Nguyen Van Nhat, 48, had been brought to Quang Tri General Hospital in the namesake central province in critical condition and comatose after having too much to drink on Christmas.

To save him, doctors had to repeatedly infused beer into him. After they gave him a total of 15 cans over five hours he gradually recovered.

On Wednesday Nhat was discharged after a full recovery.

Doctors had to perfuse a mans stomach with 15 cans of beer. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao

Nguyen Van Nhat, 48, receives treatment at Quang Tri General Hospital. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao

Earlier the doctors had diagnosed him with methanol poisoning.

Dr Le Van Lam, head of the intensive care unit, explained that alcohol contains ethyl and methyl. When it enters the body, the liver prioritizes the metabolism of ethyl.

While ethyl is converted into non-toxic chemicals, the metabolized methyl is deadly when consumed at high levels.

On the other hand, if the methyl is not metabolized for a long time, it is discharged through urine, a process that became crucial to saving the patient, Lam said.

Thus, doctors kept perfusing beer, an ethyl alcohol, to slow down the metabolism of methyl in his body.

Besides Nhat, three other people from the same Christmas party were also hospitalized, but one of them died.

Tests by the Quang Tri Province Department of Food Safety found the methanol content in Nhat’s blood was 2,100 milligrams per liter, more than 10 times the alcohol poisoning threshold.

The methanol content in the type of alcohol consumed was 1,100 times more than the permitted level.

Lam said this was the first time the hospital had admitted such severe cases of alcohol poisoning.

The incident has turned heads, with many people terming the treatment unusual.

But it is the protocol recommended by the Ministry of Health since 2015 for alcohol poisoning of above 200 milligrams per liter.

In October 2008, the same method was used in Saigon to save more than 10 patients suffering from methanol poisoning.

Doctors in Mumbai, India, used whiskey to treat many patients with serious methanol poisoning in 2015, the Economic Times reported.

Alcohol poisoning is not rare in Vietnam. The country reported more than 10 cases with 115 people hospitalized in 2017, including 11 killed.

go to top