The life of a 48-year-old man identified as Nguyen Van Nhat was saved after the doctors pumped 15 cans of beer into the man’s stomach to stop him dying from alcohol poisoning.
Nguyen Van Nhat had passed out on Boxing Day 2018 and been rushed to General Hospital in Quang Tri, Vietnam.
Dr. Le Van Lam, head of the Intensive Care Unit, discovered that his blood alcohol level of 1,119 times higher than the allowable limit, so he immediately pumped three cans (one litre) of beer to slow down his liver’s processing of methanol.
According to Dr. Lam, one can of beer was given to Nhat every hour. After 15 cans (five litres) were administered to Van Nhat, he was completely conscious.
The doctor explained that a person’s stomach and intestines continue to release alcohol into the bloodstream even if they are unconscious or have stopped drinking, and for a period alcohol levels in the body continue to rise.
Alcohol comes in two variants, methanol and ethanol, and the human liver breaks down ethanol first as a priority.
The man became unconscious when the methanol in his system oxidized to formaldehyde which in turn produced formic acid, according to Dr. Lam.
To prevent oxidizing formaldehyde to formic acid, giving beer to the methanol-poisoned patient gave medics enough time to perform dialysis.
Nhat was discharged from the hospital after 3 weeks.