bitterbiracialbibliophile  asked:

Hi! My character drinks a cocktail sweetened with ethylene glycol at a combination 18th birthday/christmas party in the future. She is cared for- sorta- by being given shedloads of vodka at the party, then transported to a hospital. She survives, but doesn't have the best day, due to being poisoned. I've been reading up on typical cases, but I'd like to know how bad it could get and how long she'd take to recover w/proper care. Thanks :)

Hey! So ethylene glycol does indeed cause problems, but if someone somehow knows there’s EG in the drink and gives her alcohol, there’s a very, very good chance of a good outcome.

That’s because the poisoning part of EG poisoning is related to toxic byproducts. The first step in breaking it down is done by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. The reason ethanol (aka vodka, moonshine, etc.) fixes this is that it competes for alcohol dehydrogenase. Since its affinity to alcohol dehydrogenase is about 100x stronger than that of EG, it’s metabolized preferentially, and your character will be drunk as a skunk in a bunk, but they will not get ethylene glycol poisoning.

She’ll still need some observation in an ER, and she might get a dose of fomepizole, but assuming she doesn’t have a MASSIVE dose of EG, she will probably do fine. She may be watched for 24 hours before discharge just to be safe.

I would actually worry more about going too far with the alcohol to try to “fix” the poisoning. Alcohol poisoning isn’t a joke either; severe vomiting, dehydration, coma, and cardiac depression can all be side effects. She may actually drink enough to put herself into a place where she needs to be intubated until the alcohol metabolizes. (It’s rare, but it does happen.)

Treatment for this will be an IV, some antiemitics (Zofran is popular), food, and monitoring until she’s well enough to go home. Trust me, ERs handle enough drunks to be very, very, very good at this. Most of the time, the patient is put in the corner and checked on occasionally and allowed to sleep it off, unless they’re really messed up.

Hope this helped! xoxo, Aunt Scripty

Disclaimer

I’ve now been sober for a longer period of time than since before I turned 18. A longer sober period than I’ve had in literal years. It’s so exciting! It’s a whole new life for me rn. If you’re considering getting sober but you’re scared, do it. It’s totally worth it.