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NHS Norovirus Rub Cocktails And Other Staffordshire Anaesthetics

by | 1st, March 2009

TO Staffordshire, where the local imbibers are making tinctures from the alcoholic hand gels (£10-a-litre; £1 a finger).

Two NHS hospitals in Staffordshire have removed the dispensers from their wards, and issued a Patient Safety Alert to hospitals and clinics across the country.

The MRSA-busting cocktail is 75 per cent proof. It is blended with Bitrex – “the brand name of the most bitter substance yet discovered” – giving it an acquired taste, like Campari and bitter lemon, Malibu and Calpol or Cristal champagne off Craig Bellamy’s soapy buttocks, say.

The Telegraph’s scoop is not all that new.

Last year, the BBC reported:

Poison experts at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital received 19 reports of intentional ingestion over 16 months. Accidental ingestion by children, and elderly and confused patients, was also a problem, they told the British Medical Journal.

Any specifics?

One of the reports related to a female patient with a known history of alcohol dependency who was found collapsed with an empty 500ml bottle of alcohol hand rub, lying next to another bottle.

Tests showed she was nine times over the legal UK driving limit for alcohol and the concentration in her blood was potentially fatal.

Happily, she was not driving, being passed out in a hospital, nor dead. Hand gel might well save the NHS a fortune in anaesthetists, pre-med pills and beds.

And there were more facts:

The researchers said: “In our experience, the more serious effects are seen in those who ingest more than 500ml of hand rub, and this is most likely to occur in confused patients (such as, they may mistake it for water) and those with alcohol dependency seeking the desired effect.”

Confusing hand gel for water? And asking the surgeon for a kebab, extra curry sauce. Confusion can do that.

In other news. Seven wards at Stoke-on-Trent’s main hospital have been closed to new admissions because of norovirus.

Hurry up with the kebab…



Posted: 1st, March 2009 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (5) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink