Doctors in the town of Mackay in northern Queensland have kept an Italian tourist alive by feeding him vodka through an intravenous drip for three days.
In an apparent suicide attempt, the man, aged 24, had swallowed large amounts of ethylene glycol, a potentially lethal poison found in antifreeze.
He arrived at Mackay Base Hospital in a coma and doctors immediately administered pure alcohol, the conventional antidote in such cases. When the hospital’s supply ran out, they hooked up an intravenous feed of vodka in a desperate attempt to save his life.
In a statement to the press, Dr Todd Fraser said that, ‘The patient was drip-fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days in the intensive care unit. 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’.
The Italian tourist has since made a successful recovery, after spending 20 days in hospital before being discharged. The incident happened two months ago, but news of this unusual example of the life-saving properties of alcohol was only released on Wednesday.
Closing his statement on a light note, Dr Fraser added that, ‘The hospital’s administrators were very understanding when we explained our reasons for buying a case of vodka’.