Saved by the beer

You’d almost expect something like this to happen on The Simpsons:

A man dying from alcohol poisoning was saved after doctors in Vietnam pumped 15 cans worth of beer into his body.

The 48-year-old, Nguyen Van Nhat, fell unconscious and was taken to a hospital in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Tri on December 25 where doctors found that levels of methanol — a dangerous form of alcohol — in his body were more than 1,000 times over the recommended limit, the Daily Mirror reported.

When he arrived, medical staff at the General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, led by Dr. Le Van Lam, immediately administered him three cans of beer, equivalent to about 1 liter. Over the course of the day, doctors transfused a total of 15 cans of beer into the man’s body at a rate of about one every hour. This slowed down the rate at which his liver processed the methanol, allowing doctors to save his life.

Beer, sweet beer. Is there nothing it can’t do?


  1. fillyjonk »

    20 January 2019 · 7:43 am

    Competitive enzyme inhibition for the win!

    I remember 30 years ago reading a story about this in the news, except it was a purebred dog that accidentally sampled some spilled antifreeze. The owners, distressed, took the dog to the vet – too late to induce vomiting. So the vet put the dog on a vodka IV to keep its alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes busy so it could either process the stuff more slowly or excrete it unmetabolized.

    I would tell that story in my intro bio classes, but always said “I’m not quite sure if this is actually A Thing even though it was in the newspaper” but one semester, a student who worked as a vet-tech put up her hand and said “It absolutely is; I’ve assisted in similar procedures.”

  2. hollyh »

    21 January 2019 · 11:52 am

    So…(as Beavis would ask)….does this mean that the cure for a hangover is a….beer?

  3. CGHill »

    21 January 2019 · 5:39 pm

    Only if you’re hung over after chugging methanol, in which case you’re fortunate to be alive.

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