A man who had a blood alcohol limit 1,119 times higher than it should have been was saved by doctors who gave him 15 cans of beer.
Medics at General Hospital in Quang Tri, Vietnam, saved the life of 48-year-old Nguyen Van Nhat by administering beer into his stomach.
Doctors at the Care Unit immediately transfused three cans, or one litre, of beer into Mr Nhat’s stomach to slow down his liver’s processing of methanol.
One can of beer was then administered to him every hour for twelve hours until Mr Nhat was conscious.
Mr Nhat had 1,119 times the recommended level of methanol in his system and would have died if it wasn’t for the unconventional treatment.
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Ethanol is commonly found in beer, wine and spirits, and in small doses makes a person drunk.
But Mr Nhat had Methanol in his system, a chemical which is often created when making homebred spirits.
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Methanol is much more dangerous than ethanol, and can lead to blindness or even death, when consumed in large or small doses.
After Mr Nhat stopped drinking, methanol continued to be released into his bloodstream, causing his blood alcohol levels to continue to rise.
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Doctors administered beer into Mr Nhat’s system because the body prioritised breaking down ethanol over methanol.
The procedure slowed down the toxic effects of methanol and gave doctors time to perform dialysis before Mr Nhat suffered further effects from alcohol poisoning.
Public Health England’s advice for managing methanol poisoning states absorption of methanol is “rapid” but “toxic features” may be “delayed.”
It says: "Absorption of methanol is rapid, but the onset of metabolic toxic features may be delayed for several hours, particularly if co-ingested with ethanol, which delays methanol metabolism due to competitive inhibition."
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