Men die after drinking wine in northern Vietnam

By Thuy Quynh   January 3, 2023 | 11:38 pm PT
Men die after drinking wine in northern Vietnam
Wine is poured from a bottle into a glass. Illustration photo by Pixabay
Two men in the northern Vinh Phuc Province were killed from alcohol poisoning after they drank wine made of methanol, doctors said.

The General Hospital of Vinh Phuc said Wednesday that the two men, 52 and 60, were rushed to the hospital during the New Year holiday in a state of semi-consciousness and with their skin having turned purple.

Both men had lost their vital signs upon arrival at the hospital.

Family members said the two men had consumed "a lot of wine with unclear origins."

Doctors performed chest compressions and artificial ventilation, and gave them vasopressor, which is used to make blood vessels constrict or become narrow in people with low blood pressure. However, these efforts failed to save either man.

Doctors later concluded that the two men had died of "methanol poisoning."

Dr. Nguyen Van Thien from the hospital's Emergency Department said there are two types of alcohol poisoning: ethanol poisoning and methanol poisoning.

Ethanol is typically prepared by the fermentation of food crops and used as the primary ingredient in alcoholic beverages. Methanol, which is created by a chemical reaction, is a toxic alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, and alternative fuel source.

Alcohol poisoning with methanol is much more serious and dangerous than ethanol poisoning.

Though it is illegal to use methanol to make alcoholic drinks, many people still process beverages from the chemical as it is easier to make and more profitable. In most cases, wine made of methanol in Vietnam has no brand name or clear origin.

After a few hours of drinking, methanol enters the body and is rapidly converted into acids that are toxic to all cells, especially the brain, liver, and vision. Patients will suffer severe abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, vomiting, hypothermia, shortness of breath, and decreased or lost vision.

More severe symptoms that may appear later are respiratory and circulatory failure. If the poisoning is not treated promptly, it can result in a rapid death.

Those who do seek medical attention early may still suffer severe sequelae in the brain, eyes, liver, and kidneys.

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