An elderly woman from northern Vietnam has suffered a severe paracetamol overdose after consuming a significant amount of what she thought was traditional medicine.
Nguyen Trung Nguyen, director of the Poison Control Center of Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, said that doctors had just saved a patient with multi-organ failure due to paracetamol poisoning.
The patient, 72-year-old Nguyen Thi T. from Bac Giang Province, was previously diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and elevated liver enzymes.
The incident occurred after T. chose to take medical advice from her neighbor, rather than follow her doctor’s orders.
The neighbor stated that the medicine could cure all types of diseases.
T. ordered the medicine from a local seller and was told to take 10 pills daily.
Following a 10-day course, the elderly woman began experiencing fatigue, fever, poor appetite, and bloating.
She was admitted to Bac Giang General Hospital and was diagnosed with acute hepatitis and nephritis along with underlying conditions including diabetes and dyslipidemia.
The patient was later transferred to Bach Mai Hospital with multi-organ failure and pneumonia.
A sample of the traditional medicine T. had been taking was sent to the National Institute of Forensic Medicine, and paracetamol was found among the ingredients.
Dr. Nguyen stated that the Poison Control Center often receives cases of poisoning due to traditional medicine therapies with unknown ingredients.
To avoid such incidents, people are advised to follow the prescription of doctors at local healthcare facilities and avoid buying medicine of unknown origin, he added.