IV drips don’t sober drunks

Despite the popularity of using IV drips to sober drunken patients, EMF-funded researchers found the standard treatment makes no difference to how quickly they sober up.

As a result of the research outcomes, two of Queensland’s largest Emergency Departments, the Gold Coast University Hospital and the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital, have stopped the routine use of IV fluids to treat drunken patients and emergency health specialists in Australia and overseas are also reviewing their policies.

Emergency Departments in the Gold Coast Health Service District treated more than 150,000 patients in 2015 and researchers estimated that up to $500,000 was saved by no longer treating drunken patients with unnecessary IV fluids.

One of the project leaders, Dr Siegfried Perez said, “Intravenous fluids were widely thought to reduce the blood alcohol content but our research established that they make no difference.

“From our study, we found that while observation is still needed, it seems IV fluids do not speed up a patient’s discharge.”

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