65-year-old Denis Duthie of New Zealand has been a diabetic for 20 years.
He knew he had to keep his drinking in check but he didn’t think it would be too big of a deal to have a few celebratory vodka drinks, in honor of his parents and their 50th wedding anniversary.
That’s where he was wrong – a few hours into the celebration he went blind. The vodka mixed with medication Duthie was taking for his diabetes and brought on formaldehyde poisoning which rendered him sightless. After trying to sleep it off, he awoke just as visionless and had his wife take him to the hospital.
Typically brought on by consuming methanol, formaldehyde poisoning is treated with an antidote of ethanol – the same type of alcohol found in the booze that we drink. There was just one problem. The hospital didn’t have enough pure ethanol on hand to save Denis Duthie, so doctors did the next best thing – they sent a medical registrar to the liquor store for a $55 bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label and used a nasogastric tube to slowly drip it into Duthie’s stomach.
Five days and a considerable amount of whiskey later, Duthie awoke in the intensive care unit with his sight restored.
This remarkable story has been covered by Time, The Huffington Post, and countless other news outlets out there but Denis Duthie did not tell it for the entertainment value, he’s shared it in the hopes that other diabetics learn from his close call.
We hope so too, Denis. Glad you’re doing well.