Lately, it seems that we are hearing about all kinds of weird things being pumped into someone’s body. In fact, just this week, the Inquisitr brought readers the story about the bizarre case of a man who pumped semen into his back multiple times in an attempt to cure his back pain. The unorthodox method didn’t work, of course, and the man only wound up with a severe abscess for his trouble. Meanwhile, doctors in Vietnam encountered a male patient with severe alcohol poisoning and decided to take an unconventional approach of their own.
They pumped his stomach with the equivalent of 15 cans of beer, and the remedy actually saved the man’s life.
The incident happened on December 25, and Newsweek reports that the man, Nguyen Van Nhat, had become inebriated two days prior, but then lost consciousness and was then transported to an emergency medical center in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Tri. After the doctors ran tests, they determined that the 48-year-old’s life was in danger. Van Nhat had dangerous levels of methanol, a dangerous form of alcohol, in his body. What’s more, his system contained more than 1,000 times what’s recommended as a limit, says the Daily Mail.
The quick-thinking doctors at the center then decided how they would save the man from alcohol poisoning. The ICU medical team, headed by Dr. Le Van Lam, immediately pumped three cans of beer into his stomach. Throughout the day, they administered a total of 15 cans of the alcoholic brew to his stomach at a rate of about one per hour. The team continued to do the procedure until Nguyen Van Nhat regained consciousness.
Alcohol available for consumers to purchase is mostly made up of ethanol. However, in the case of beer and wine, trace amounts of methanol are left behind in the fermentation process. Methanol is fatal in smaller amounts than ethanol, and the body converts it to formaldehyde. After it is converted to formaldehyde, the body breaks it down even further to formic acid. Both substances combined demonstrate the deadly effects of methanol poisoning, include blindness, depression of the nervous system and in some cases, death.
Methanol poisoning is what caused Nguyen Van Nhat to lose consciousness. When the medical team administered the beer, it halted the process where his system was converting formaldehyde into formic acid. This is because a person’s liver will always break down ethanol before it will methanol. Since they slowed down the rate at which Van Nhat’s liver metabolized the methanol, they were able to have time to perform the necessary dialysis and allow the kidneys to remove all traces of the methanol from his system.
According to Inquirer.net, the treatment lasted 12 hours and included monitoring the ethanol amounts in the beer administered. Later, Dr. Le Van Lam received widespread praise for bringing Nguyen Van Nhat back from the brink of death.