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Challenges of managing toxic alcohol poisoning in a resource-limited setting
  1. Ed Barnard1,
  2. S Baladurai2,
  3. T Badh3 and
  4. E Nicol2
  1. 1Emergency Department, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon, UK
  2. 2Department of Military Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Department of Military Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Surg Lt Cdr Ed Barnard RN, Speciality Registrar in Emergency Medicine, Emergency Department, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon PL6 8DH, UK; barnard{at}


We present a series of patients with profound metabolic acidosis admitted to the Role 3 Medical Treatment Facility, Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, in 2012. A police service breath alcohol analyser, calculation of the osmolar gap and urine microscopy assisted in diagnosing methanol poisoning. The challenge of diagnosing and managing toxic alcohol poisoning in this resource-limited setting is discussed. We believe this is the first description of using a breath alcohol analyser to assist a diagnosis of methanol poisoning.

  • Accident & Emergency medicine
  • Toxicology

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