SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian doctors used an intravenous feed of vodka to keep an Italian tourist alive after he consumed large quantities of a poisonous substance.
The 24-year-old man, in an apparent bid at self-harm, had swallowed ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, which can cause death. Doctors administered pure alcohol, the conventional antidote, but exhausted the hospital’s supply.
Desperate to continue the treatment the doctors at Mackay Base Hospital in Queensland state hooked up an intravenous feed of vodka, hospital officials said.
“The patient was drip-fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days in the intensive care unit,” Dr Todd Fraser said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Fortunately for him he was in a medically induced coma for a good portion of that. By the time he woke up I think his hangover would have well and truly gone,” Fraser said.
“The hospital’s administrators were also very understanding when we explained our reasons for buying a case of vodka.”
The Italian man was treated in the hospital two months ago and has since made a successful recovery. News of his treatment was only released on Wednesday.
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