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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    Unintended Consequences: A couple of Purell-type hand cleanser hazards. First, from a prison (subscription required):

    The Maryland Poison Center was called about a 49-year-old, usually calm prison inmate who was described as being "red-eyed," "loony," "combative," and "intoxicated, lecturing everyone about life." Other inmates and staff reported seeing this prisoner drinking from a gallon container of Purell hand sanitizer over the course of the evening. It was discovered that this sanitizer contains 62% ethanol by weight (more than 70% alcohol by volume). The inmate's blood alcohol level was found to be 335 mg per deciliter. It was later confirmed that he had not consumed any other forms of ethanol or other illicit substances. The patient was treated with fluid repletion and haloperidol, with no complications.

    Not all alcohol-based hand cleansers contain ethyl alcohol, as this hospital case points out (also requires subscription):

    A 43-year-old man with alcoholism was admitted to the hospital with chest pain, for which the workup was unremarkable. At discharge, the patient became acutely hypotensive and delirious. He was afebrile, oxygenating well, and had a nonfocal neurologic examination. Intravenous fluids and vasopressors were administered. The results of routine laboratory tests were normal, as were the results of arterial blood gas and serum ethanol measurements, toxicology screening, blood and urine cultures, and computed tomography of the head. Urinalysis showed a trace of acetone. The following day, the patient was hemodynamically stable, but his mental status did not improve. Because of a sweet, ketotic odor in the room, tests of serum isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) and acetone levels were ordered. Before those results were obtained, the patient was seen in the bathroom drinking the alcohol-based hand wash from its dispenser. The patient's isopropanol level was 13.6 mg per deciliter, and his acetone level was 269.4 mg per deciliter (normal range, 0 to 1.9 for both). When asked why he ingested the hand cleaner, he pointed to the label, which read, "Active ingredient 63% v/v isopropyl alcohol." He explained that this percentage is higher than that in vodka.

    Unfortunately, it's also more toxic than vodka.

    Elsewhere, the alcohol based cleansers are causing problems of a different sort.

    posted by Sydney on 2/01/2007 08:21:00 AM 2 comments


    I have also seen articles about Muslim religious leaders condemning the use of vaccines for various reasons. Of course, I have also seen a Seventh Day Adventist die for want of a blood transfusion (no, blood substitutes and recapture devices do not work with massive obstetrical hemorrhage).

    There are all sorts of reasons why having a hierarchy in a church can be bad, but here's a case where it could be good, because those higher up could reign these nutjobs in more effectively. I bet most Muslims just roll their eyes and sigh when these ant-medical types start up.

    It's my understanding that these guys can't even be excommunicated.

    By Anonymous danie, at 6:28 PM  

    Oh yeah, I learned about those vaccines about two posts down from here..... duh.

    By Anonymous danie, at 6:54 PM  

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