An Australian tourist has been hospitalised and had half of her pancreas removed after she suffered methanol poisoning from drinking ‘cheap’ alcohol in Bali. Jen Neilson faces the further complication of paying large medical bills, as her travel insurance expired on the day of the incidence.

Methanol poisoning from homemade or cheap alcohol is a serious issue in Indonesia, and the Australian Government has issued advice warning tourists to avoid drinks that could be high risk. (See below.)

From Perth Now

WA woman suffers ‘methanol poisoning’ after drinking cheap alcohol in Bali

ANOTHER Australian tourist may have fallen victim to methanol poisoning from drinking cheap alcoholic drinks in Bali.

Perth woman Jen Neilson was rushed to hospital after she suddenly became “extremely” ill and required emergency surgery to remove part of her pancreas.

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From 9News

Woman has half of pancreas removed after suspected methanol poisoning in Bali

It is suspected she was poisoned by methanol served in drinks at a Kuta bar.

The next day Ms Neilson thought she was just experiencing a terrible hangover but half of her pancreas was dead.

Throughout the day she became increasingly ill and after being admitted to hospital underwent emergency surgery. 

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From WAtoday

Perth tourist stuck in Bali hospital after suffering poisoning from ‘cheap alcohol’

According to Ms Neilson’s friend, Lilian Tagliari, her travel insurance expired the day she was rushed to hospital.

“Her travel insurance expired the day she had to be rushed to hospital so they are refusing to pay,” she said.

“She will need to spend a lot more money after the surgery and is being told she will need to stay in hospital for a long time.”

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From the Australian Government’s travel warning on Indonesia

Indonesia travel advice

Poisoning from alcoholic drinks containing methanol: There have been cases of poisoning in Indonesia, most notably in Bali and Lombok, from alcoholic drinks adulterated with harmful substances, particularly methanol. Locals and foreigners, including Australians, have died or have become seriously ill. Cases have usually involved local spirits and spirit-based drinks, such as cocktails, but supposed brand name alcohol can also be adulterated. A number of deaths have also been reported after drinking adulterated arak – a traditional rice-based spirit.

You should consider the risks when consuming alcoholic beverages in Indonesia, particularly cocktails and drinks made with spirits. Drink only at reputable licensed premises and avoid home-made alcoholic drinks. You should be aware that the labelling on bottles may not be accurate and that substitution of contents can occur.

If you suspect that you or a companion may have been poisoned, you need to act quickly and get urgent medical attention. Symptoms of methanol poisoning can include fatigue, headaches and nausea, similar to the effects as excessive drinking, but with pronounced vision problems that may include blurred or snowfield vision, flashes of light, tunnel vision, changes in colour perception, dilated pupils, difficulty looking at bright lights, or blindness. If you suspect that you, or anyone you are travelling with, have been affected by methanol or other poisoning, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention, which could be vital in avoiding permanent disability or death. All suspected cases of methanol poisoning should be reported to the Indonesian police.

Please click here to read the original and more of the travel warning.

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