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Oz alkie gets hammered on hospital hand sanitiser

'It surprised us that he drank this stuff', admits doc

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Doctors at a Melbourne hospital have suggested hospitals Down Under would do well to lock up their hand sanitiser, after one patient got lashed on six bottles of antibacterial brew.

According to a concerned letter in the Medical Journal of Australia, a 45-year-old chap with "a history of polysubstance misuse" was being treated at The Alfred for "alcohol-related gastritis" when he became "increasingly drowsy".

It wasn't until some hours later that staff discovered six "near-empty 375 ml bottles of Aqium Gel" at his bedside. The pissed perp admitted to downing the heady blend of 66 per cent ethanol, "thickener, dexpanthenol, dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate, fragrance, pH neutraliser and water".

Dr Michael Oldmeadow, Director of Physician Training, told Australian Associated Press: "It surprised us that he drank this stuff. It's horrendous. You'd think it would taste pretty bad."

A subsequent breath test showed the patient had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.271 per cent, somewhat over the Oz drink-drive limit of 0.05 per cent. Docs sought advice from the Poisons Information Line, administered "supportive therapy" and he made an "uneventful recovery".

Oldmeadow and his colleagues reckon three other patients at The Alfred have helped themselves to an antibacterial livener over the past six months, and that "consumption of alcohol-based hand sanitisers by inpatients may be an increasing problem in Australian settings".

Accordingly, they suggest removable bottles of hand hooch should be replaced with "non-removable, self-contained dispensers". ®

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