Savior in COVID-19 times turns killer: An autopsy based case report of isopropanol ingestion

Case Report

Author Details : Mukul Sharma, Biplab Rath*, Afsar Jahan, Manas Ranjan Sahu

Volume : 7, Issue : 4, Year : 2020

Article Page : 216-218

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Withdrawal symptoms amongst the habitual drinkers of alcohol have become a common finding during the COVID 19 pandemic as a result of lockdown. To curb the symptoms, some seek to take surgical spirit which contains isopropanol, a monohydroxy alcohol. As the mortality rate of its ingestion is very low, most of the literature is concerned with the clinical findings. Here we present autopsy findings of a couple who had consumed surgical spirit to ease the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. On taking a history from the son we came to know about the withdrawal symptoms and previous medical treatment. They had consumed surgical spirit which they allegedly took to relieve the symptoms which had been retrieved from the house. There were no external injuries present over the bodies. The stomach showed diffuse submucosal hemorrhages. Lungs were grossly edematous and hemorrhagic. Urine showed the presence of ketone bodies. Chemical analysis of viscera showed the presence of isopropanol. Many studies pointed out that during the COVID-19 pandemic there is a surge in the withdrawal symptoms amongst the alcoholics which even had provoked them towards consumption of toxic alcohols. With limited or no access to alcoholic beverages, people tend to consume toxic alcohol to relieve their withdrawal symptoms. In these ‘hard times’ population at risk should be identified, treated, and counseled against the taking of toxic alcohols. Substitutes for alcohol-based sanitizers could be researched and put in use. A cautionary message should be boldly printed on the label of such things.

Keywords: COVID- 19, Withdrawal symptoms, Surgical spirit, Isopropanol.

How to cite : Sharma M , Rath B , Jahan A , Sahu M R , Savior in COVID-19 times turns killer: An autopsy based case report of isopropanol ingestion. Indian J Forensic Community Med 2020;7(4):216-218

Copyright © 2020 by author(s) and Indian J Forensic Community Med. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (

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