It’s January, the month most people intend to give up their vices — not increase their reliance on them. Yet, the latter is what a man in Vietnam happened to do and it nearly cost him his life. Fortunately, quick thinking doctors were able to prevent his untimely demise by pumping his stomach with more alcohol — 15 beers, to be exact.
RT reports that unconscious Nguyen Van Nhan was diagnosed with alcohol poisoning after being admitted to the hospital. To save his life, doctors transfused three cans of beer directly into his stomach. Afterward, one can of beer was given to the patient each hour, until a total of 15 cans had been emptied into his stomach. By the 15th beer, Nhan began to regain consciousness.
Dr. Le Van Lam, head of the hospital’s intensive care unit, explained how introducing more alcohol into the patient’s system helped save his life. Booze comes in two forms: methanol and ethanol. The human liver breaks down ethanol first which can result in dangerously high levels of methanol after someone indulges far beyond their limit.
When the methanol is allowed to oxidize it creates formaldehyde. Left untouched, formaldehyde leads to the formation of formic acid. When Nhan was admitted to the facility, the level of methanol in his blood was 1,119 times higher than than the average limit.
This prompted doctors to implement the unconventional treatment. To perform dialysis and, as a result, prevent formaldehyde from becoming formic acid, the doctors pumped more than a dozen liters of beer into the patient’s stomach.
According to University Hospital of Freiburg emergency physician Hans-Jörg Busch, the method is an “unusual” way of treating someone. However, he added that the theory is well-known.
“The therapy with 15 cans of beer is rather unusual, but well understood. May be the Vietnamese colleagues had no other alcohol on hand,” Busch told the German press agency DPA. “Much more important (than the kind of alcohol used) is that the therapy is immediately initiated.”
Thanks to Nhan’s quick thinking doctors, the therapy was indeed immediately initiated and, while it did prove successful, we don’t recommend our readers consume enough alcohol to experience this method for themselves.
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