Doctors in Vietnam recently used an unorthodox approach to treat a patient suffering from alcohol poisoning by giving him 15 cans of beer in an attempt to save his life. The patient, Nguyen Van Nhat, 48-years old, was hospitalized on December 25, 2018, with symptoms of severe methanol poisoning after he had consumed a huge amount of alcohol.
According to the head of the hospital’s intensive care unit, Dr. Le Van Lam, Nguyen Van Nhat was unconscious and in a life-threatening condition when he was brought to the hospital. So, doctors took his blood samples and found that the level of methanol in his blood was 1,119 times higher than the legal limit. In other to slow down the methanol processing in his liver, 3 cans of beer were administered to him by the doctors immediately.
The doctors administered 15 cans of beer at the rate of 1 can per hour to Nguyen Van Nhat before he could finally regain his consciousness to the point that the doctors were confident and satisfied enough to discharge him from the hospital. According to Dr. Lam, using beer to save alcohol-poisoned patients is not unheard of in the medical world.
Dr. Lam explains the theory behind this unorthodox approach to treating the alcohol-poisoned patient, he said:
“In essence, there are two variants of alcohol – ethanol, and methanol. The human liver prioritizes breaking down ethanol over methanol. When methanol is broken down, it releases formaldehyde, a highly toxic chemical compound that can be deadly when consumed at high levels. On the other hand, ethanol does not lead to serious poisoning when it is broken down by the liver. So since beer contains ethanol, administering beer into a methanol-poisoned patient actually helps stop the liver from breaking down methanol, which gives doctors enough time to perform dialysis and remove alcohol from the patient’s system”.
Dr. Lam further explains: In addition, excess methanol that is not broken down by the liver can be naturally removed or passed out from the body through urination.l
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