Australian Doctors Use Vodka Drip to Save Poisoned Tourist's Life

Australian doctors credit vodka for saving the life of an Italian tourist who had ingested a large amount of the poisonous substance ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, which can cause renal failure and often is fatal, French news agency AAP reports.

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The 24-year-old man, believed to have been attempting to harm himself, was brought to Mackay Base Hospital in north Queensland, Australia, two months ago.

Pascal Gelperowicz, who led the man's treatment with Todd Fraser, said the man was unconscious when he arrived and was treated immediately with pharmaceutical-grade alcohol, which works as an antidote to the poison.

The hospital's alcohol supplies were soon exhausted, however, so they purchased a case of vodka to help finish the job. "We ... decided the next best way to get alcohol into the man's system was by feeding him spirits through a naso-gastric tube," Gelperowicz said.

The man was fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days while in intensive care. The patient has made a full recovery.