Drunk, But Not In The Usual Way, A Baffling Medical Mystery Unfolds Relates Austin Injury Lawyer Bobby Lee
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) November 4, 2013 – Most law enforcement personnel and even lawyers would agree that if someone has a blood alcohol content of .37 that they are drunk. They may be, but not in the usual sense.
“This is quite the interesting story,” said Bobby Lee, of Lee, Gober & Reyna, Austin injury lawyers. “A Texas man checked himself into his local emergency room and told the medical staff he was extremely dizzy. They tested his blood and the blood alcohol content (BAC) was .37, certainly higher than the legal limit.”
It turns out that the man’s family thought he was a closet alcoholic. He insisted he was not and had not been drinking. This story baffled medical personnel, who decided to keep him in hospital and run more tests. They began by isolating him for 24 hours and tried to get his BAC down. It shot up and down all day. On further research, it turned out the man actually had an identifiable disease, known as Auto-Brewery Syndrome.
“Auto-Brewery Syndrome, which is also referred to as Gut Fermentation Syndrome, is very rare. It produces copious quantities of intoxicating alcohol through the process of endogenous fermentation in the digestive system, and is documented in medical literature,” added Lee.
What everyone thought was a fabrication on the man’s part turned out to be the truth. He was not an alcoholic and did not drink and drive. Instead, he was suffering from a type of yeast infection caused by the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the same yeast used to brew beer.
“Usually, the yeast is found in the intestinal tract, but it has been known to migrate into the stomach. If the individual eats starchy foods, the yeast in the stomach ferments it to alcohol, a defense that has been used in some alleged drunk driving cases,” stated Lee.
While this man was clearly drunk, it was not for the usual reasons. Any case involving an alleged drunk driver should consider this particular scenario. It would likely change the outcome of the case at trial. It also clearly demonstrates that just because someone is drunk, does not mean that they are alcoholics.
Lee, Gober & Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road #220-S
Austin, Texas 78759
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