Vodka causes man’s blindness; whisky gives him sight

A man in New Zealand who went blind after drinking vodka regained his sight after doctors gave him whisky.

Johnnie Walker BlackLabelIt was Homer Simpson who said: “To alcohol, the cause of, and solution to, all life’s problems”, and that was certainly true for Denis Duthie, 65, from Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island.

Duthie, a catering tutor, was celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary by drinking some vodka, which had been given to him by some of his students. But the drink reacted with his diabetes medication and Duthie explained that suddenly everything 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. I was fumbling around the bedroom for the light switch but, I’d just gone completely blind.”

Initially Duthie had hoped he would sleep off the problem, but when he woke up the following morning he still had no vision, so he headed to his local hospital.

“I don’t remember much after I arrived in hospital. They put me onto the trolley and into the theatre straight away.

“I know the doctor told my wife to say goodbye because they didn’t think I’d be coming out again.”

But as surgeons were working on Duthie one noticed a strong smell like nail polish remover coming from the incision in his stomach. This led them to believe that Duthie was suffering from formaldehyde poisoning, which can be caused by ingesting methanol; this can be treated by administering ethanol.

Unfortunately the hospital’s ethanol supplies were too low, so quick-thinking doctors headed to the local off licence and bought a bottle of whisky. Mr Duthie did not get to enjoy the bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label as the whisky was put on a drip into his stomach.

The innovative treatment worked as Duthie explained: “I woke up five days later and I could see as soon as I could open my eyes.

“I thought it was pretty bloody good – I’m alive. The hospital was absolutely awesome. Couldn’t have been better.”

A specialist at the hospital told the New Zealand Herald that treating methanol poisoning with ethanol was a well-established treatment. Tony Smith said that the ethanol competes with the methanol and prevents it from being metabolised into harmful formaldehyde, which caused Mr Duthie’s blindness.

One Response to “Vodka causes man’s blindness; whisky gives him sight”

  1. dr.madhavan says:

    sounds v v interesting….but scientifically does not seem plausible….

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