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02.2013

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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archivedHealth

LIFE-SAVING LIQUOR, FOR HUMANS AND ANIMALS

When it comes to unique life-saving techniques, the use of alcohol does not typically come to mind. But when Ronald Aldom from Portishead, England developed ventricular tachychardia (an unusual heart rhythm) doctors decided to treat it a little unconventionally. Doctors gave a shot of neat alcohol, or pure ethanol, via a catheter through the blood vessel in the groin that connects to the heart. For Aldom, 77, the ethanol triggered a “controlled heart attack,” and actually killed the part of his heart muscle that was problematic, according to BBC News. Doctors decided to try the approach after several unsuccessful conventional treatments. “Ethanol ablation” as it is called, has only been done a handful of times in the United Kingdom. The procedure saved Aldom’s life, making his heart beat regularly again. “He wasn’t going to leave the hospital unless something was done,” said Dr. Tom Johnson, a cardiologist at the Bristol Heart Institute. Aldom is apparently doing just fine and has since been released from the hospital.

And it’s not just humans that alcohol can help. A Russian circus trainer recently fed a cocktail of warm water and vodka to two elephants stranded in the frigid Siberian cold and credited it with saving their lives. A trailer carrying the Indian elephants caught fire on a highway in the Novosibirsk region, sending emergency workers scrambling to get the animals out of the cold and into a nearby garage. Leonid Labo, the animals’ trainer, diluted two cases of vodka and fed the mixture to the animals. The animals suffered nothing more serious than frostbite to their ears. The director of the Novosibirsk regional zoo said if not for the vodka, the animals certainly would have died. “In cold temperatures we give vodka to the elephants and the monkeys even when they are inside,” said the director, Rostislav Shilo. “But only domestic vodka.” There are standards, after all, even for elephants.

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