Expensive Whiskey Saves Man's Sight


Alcohol tends to make eyesight fuzzy - but in one man's case, expensive whiskey saved his eyesight, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Denis Duthie, a 65-year-old catering tutor at New Plymouth's Western Institute of Technology, had a bad reaction when he mixed vodka with his diabetes medication.
Duthie told the New Zealand Herald that after mixing the two, "everything suddenly went black."

"I thought it had got dark, and I'd missed out on a bit of time, but it was only about half-past three in the afternoon," Duthie said. "I was fumbling around the bedroom for the light switch, but . . .I'd just gone completely blind."

Duthie tried to "sleep it off," but the next morning he still couldn't see, prompting him to go to Taranaki Base Hospital.

Doctors originally thought Duthie had formaldehyde poisoning, which occurs after ingesting methanol.  The condition is treated by administering ethanol, which is found in alcoholic beverages.

The hospital didn't have enough medical ethanol in supply, so a hospital worker went to the local liquor store and picked up a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey.
Doctors poured the whiskey through a tube in his stomach, and five days later, Duthie woke up feeling "good as gold."

The procedure worked because the ethanol competed with the methanol, so the methanol did not have a chance to turn into harmful formaldehyde, which can cause blindness to occur. In this case, Duthie's diabetes medication reacted to the vodka.

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