A man from Vietnam who was dying from alcohol poisoning was reportedly saved by doctors after pumping 15 cans of beer into his stomach.
The man, identified as 48-year-old Nguyen Van Nhat, was rushed to a hospital in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Tri after he was found unconscious on December 25, according to Newsweek. Medical staff at the General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, led by Dr. Le Van Lam, immediately pum ped three cans of beer into him to slow the liver’s processing of methanol, a dangerous type of alcohol, to give doctors time to save his life.
Whereas ethanol is the main form of alcohol in alcoholic beverages, methanol is a more toxic form of alcohol found in small amounts in alcoholic beverages and is also a byproduct of fermentation. It can also be found in gasoline, antifreeze, paints, thinners, adhesives, cleaning products, inks and some beverages such as bootleg liquor.
Methanol is not processed well by the liver and ends up getting converted to formaldehyde and then formic acid, toxic substances that can cause permanent blindness, nervous system depression and possibly death. Nguyen’s methanol levels were reportedly 1,000 times over the safe limit.
Over the course of the day, doctors pumped 15 cans of beer into the man, helping to halt the conversion of formaldehyde to formic acid. Since the liver processes ethanol first, which beer has large quantities of, this gave doctors the time they needed to perform dialysis on the man to remove the methanol from his system and ultimately save his life.
By comparison, ethanol, the primary form of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, is still toxic when consumed in large amounts, but is broken down by an enzyme and ultimately metabolized into water and carbon dioxide before being expelled by the body.
Please drink responsibly and remember to hydrate.