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Whisky cures blindness in vodka-poisoned man

posted by Aaron Cohen   Dec 03, 2012

Denis Duthie was recently struck blind by vodka reacting poorly to his diabetes medication. Doctors in his native New Zealand thought he might have formaldehyde poisoning, which you can get from drinking methanol. The cure? More cowbell, er, ethanol. Since the hospital didn’t have enough medical ethanol for treatment, a nurse went to the liquor store for Johnnie Walker Black, which was then dripped directly into Duthie’s stomach.

It worked because the ethanol competed with the methanol and prevented it from being metabolised into harmful formaldehyde, which can cause blindness.

“There are two potential ways of doing it: one is to give intravenous ethanol through a drip, but that is not available in all hospitals. There is also nothing wrong with supplying that alcohol via the gastro-intestinal tract, which is what they’ve chosen to do in this circumstance, and that’s a well established treatment. If the patient’s awake they can just drink it.”

Science! No word on if Duthie had been eyeballing, butt-chugging, or using vodka tampons before going blind. (via @jamie_bear)

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