Delhi Doctors Used Rum To Save Teetotaller Who Had Inhaled Methanol

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5:32 pm 1 Sep, 2015

Only poison kills poison. Doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital appear to have just reaffirmed this adage.

A man named Deepak Kumar was admitted in the hospital with a severe case of Methanol poisoning. He had accidentally inhaled Methanol while working at a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in New Delhi, reports NavBharat Times.

Methanol, also known as Methyl Alcohol, is a highly toxic chemical consuming which can cause death.


The chemical had an immediate reaction on the 30-year-old. His eyesight was affected and vital parameters such as blood pressure, kidney and liver function had fallen dangerously.

Doctors treating him at the hospital resorted to a unique method to save his life – injecting rum into his system.

They administered 30ml of rum every six hours for two days through a feeding tube. The amount, close to a small peg, was enough to neutralize the toxicity caused by methanol. They also carried out hemodialysis and other supportive treatment on Kumar.


Why, you ask.

Dr Atul Gogia, senior consultant, internal medicine at SGRH explains:

“Rum has 40% alcohol or ethanol content which has a chemical structure similar to methanol. It occupies the receptors where methanol metabolizes into harmful formaldehyde thus reducing the toxicity.”

The irony is that Kumar is a teetotaller (or should we say ‘was’) before this incident.

He is not fully fit, though. He says that he still has vision problems in one eye, but is happy to be alive.

The hospital has forwarded Dilip’s case as a study to Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care.

This is not the first time alcohol has come to the rescue of ailing people. Whiskey restored the sight of a man poisoned by Methanol in New Zealand. Doctors used vodka to save the life of an Italian man who had swallowed poison. They used alcohol to treat a man’s unusual heart condition in UK.

And beer once saved the life of British Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home in 1964.

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