MASTERTON, New Zealand - A New Zealand doctor says his blood alcohol was over the limit after a busy day in surgery because an alcohol hand wash penetrated his kidneys.
The case could have major implications in New Zealand and elsewhere in the world, Greg Peters, the police prosecutor, told The Dominion Post. If Dr. Ian Denholm proves his case, that might suggest that surgeons are operating under the influence of alcohol, he added.
Denholm of Wairarapa was charged last July. He acknowledged having two glasses of wine after he returned home before going out again but said his consumption was well under the legal limit.
The case was scheduled for a hearing in Masterton District Court this week but was postponed because prosecutors said they needed more time to consult with experts.
Denholm's claim is that his kidneys absorbed the alcohol in the sterilizing rub he applied to his hands during his hours in the operating room. He says that it then affected his breath-alcohol level, which was 50 percent over New Zealand's legal limit for driving when he was tested at the police station.
© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.