Can You Die from Alcohol Poisoning?

Can You Die from Alcohol Poisoning? Alcohol poisoning can be deadly if health care providers do not recognize the symptoms, diagnose the condition, and treat the patient promptly.

Alcohol poisoning – sometimes called alcohol overdose – can be deadly. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, a person who has too much alcohol in their system can experience a myriad of issues as body functions slow, and can lead to serious problems with vital functions including breathing, heart rate, and body temperature regulation.

In most cases, quick diagnosis and treatment offer the support needed to survive alcohol poisoning with few or no lasting effects. Going without treatment, though, can lead to serious complications or even death. One can die from alcohol poisoning.

Symptoms and Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

When someone consumes more alcohol than their body can handle, often because of binge drinking or chugging liquor, the alcohol’s depressant effects increase as more alcohol enters the bloodstream. In many cases, they may be unconscious, but their blood alcohol level continues to rise. They may not be able to tell medical personnel they were drinking, but health care providers should recognize symptoms that include:

When a doctor or other care provider observes these symptoms or has other reason to believe alcohol poisoning may be the problem, they need to order tests to confirm their diagnosis as soon as possible. Prompt treatment and supportive care are imperative for a positive outcome. Lack of the aforementioned care can lead one to die from alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol Poisoning Can Lead to Serious Complications and Death

If health care providers fail to monitor a patient having an alcohol overdose, their condition can quickly deteriorate. In some cases, a patient could suffer lifelong impairments or pass away within a few minutes. Some possible complications include:

Vomiting and Choking

Alcohol is an irritant, especially in large quantities. It is common for people who are drinking to vomit. This is true of those who suffer from alcohol poisoning as well. The danger of complications is much higher, though, because they are likely to be unconscious. In addition, alcohol overdose slows or stops the gag reflex making it extremely easy to choke and cause death.

Breathing Issues

The depressant qualities of alcohol can slow breathing, cause irregular breathing, or stop breathing altogether. If health care providers are not adequately monitoring the patient, oxygen can be cut off for an extended time. This can cause a hypoxic brain injury or death.


As someone continues to throw up, they become more and more dehydrated. Without medical intervention, vomiting can cause:


Both dehydration and low blood sugar levels can cause seizures in patients with alcohol poisoning. Seizures can cause brain damage or even death.


In some cases, the patient’s body temperature can drop despite normal ambient temperatures. If it drops too low, cardiac arrest is a possibility.

Slowed or Irregular Heartbeat

Alcohol poisoning can interrupt the electrical impulses of the heart, slowing or stopping the pumping of the heart.

Unfortunately, many people pass away or suffer permanent brain damage each year because of alcohol poisoning. In most cases, they simply did not get the emergency medical care they needed soon enough. In other cases, though, their doctors and other health care professionals failed to recognize their symptoms, confirm a diagnosis, or offer adequate treatment to limit life-threatening complications.

Alcohol Poisoning Deaths Are Frequently Preventable

Even when someone drinks enough to affect their major body functions, adequate and supportive care is usually enough to ensure their body has time to process and flush the alcohol. If they are in a healthcare facility, a doctor or other health care provider should:

Failure to do any or all of these steps may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Doctors and other health care providers must give each patient an accepted and adequate standard of care.

Newsome Melton Will Review Your Alcohol Poisoning Malpractice Case for Free

The medical malpractice attorneys from Newsome Melton can review your case and determine if the negligence of a health care professional caused or contributed to your loved one’s injuries. If we can find an unnecessary delay in diagnosing or treating your loved one, your family may be eligible to pursue compensation through a medical malpractice claim.

Let us pursue damages on your behalf. Call us today at 855-633-2757 to get started with a no-cost case review and consultation.

Medical Negligence - News Articles

20 jul
Iowa Jury Finds Sioux Health Center & Doctor Liable for Wrongful Death; Family Awarded $29,500,000

In June 2015, Carrie DeJongh went to the Sioux Center Community Health Center, which is located in Iowa, because she was experiencing an intense pain in her lower abdomen. The attending physician examined her and decided to order a CT scan to see what was causing the discomfort. The test results showed that DeJongh was

Read More
21 may
Pennsylvania Jury Finds Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Negligent for Wrongful Death; Family Awarded $3 Million

James DeGeorge woke up on a cold December morning in 2014 with severe pain coming from his chest. DeGeorge was rushed into the Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital located in Darby, Pennsylvanian, which is about seven miles west of Philadelphia. He was 84 at the time and his doctors decided that a pacemaker would help regulate his

Read More