Doctors pumped five litres of beer into a patient’s stomach in a desperate bid to save his life as he lay unconscious in his hospital bed.
Nguyen Van Nhat was at risk of dying of alcohol poisoning when medics decided to fill his stomach with 15 cans of beer.
The level of methanol in the 48-year-old man’s blood was more than 1,000 times higher than the appropriate limit, a doctor revealed.
Doctors transfused one can of beer every hour until Mr Nguyen was completely conscious at a hospital in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Tri.
Fifteen cans were used over the better part of a day.
Dr. Le Van Lam, head of the General Hospital’s intensive care unit, told local media that the level of methanol in the patient’s blood was 1,119 times higher than the appropriate limit.
To save his life, doctors immediately transfused 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 Mr Nguyen every hour, and after 15 cans were administered the patient 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.
Dr. Lam said that alcohol comes in two variants, methanol and ethanol, and the human liver breaks down ethanol first as a priority.
Mr Nguyen became unconscious when the methanol in his system oxidised to formaldehyde which in turn produced formic acid, according to reports.
To prevent oxidising formaldehyde to formic acid, giving beer to the methanol-poisoned patient gave medics enough time to perform dialysis.