Doctors have pumped 15 cans of beer into a man’s stomach to stop him dying from alcohol poisoning, according to local reports.
Nguyen Van Nhat’s life was saved after medics at General Hospital in Quang Tri, Vietnam, transfused five litres of beer into his body.
The 48-year-old had passed out and been rushed to hospital in a critical condition on Boxing Day 2018 with a blood alcohol level of 1,119 times higher than the allowable limit.
Dr Le Van Lam, head of the Intensive Care Unit, told local media that they 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 were administered 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 oxidised to formaldehyde which in turn produced formic acid, according to Dr Lam.
To prevent oxidising 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.