A woman was arrested in Hamburg, New York after reportedly displaying a .33 percent blood alcohol content, which is a little over four times the legal limit when driving in the state. Her case was recently taken to court and she was not charged for aggravated driving while intoxicated. So with such a high blood alcohol level, why is it that the woman wasn’t fined or jailed by the judge? Medical evidence was brought to the judge showing that the woman was not in fact drunk, but rather, suffers from a rare syndrome known as “Auto-Brewery Syndrome”.
Women’s rare condition
The woman’s attorney, Joseph Marusak spoke exclusively with CNN saying that he had never heard of Auto-Brewery syndrome before. He did know that there had to something going on because hospital staff released her for not displaying any symptoms of being drunk, with such a high BAC reported. Upon searching more in depth for reasons behind a high BAC reading, he found out about Auto-Brewery syndrome. This disease is a very rare intestinal disorder that can turn ordinary food and beverages into alcohol within a person’s body. The disease is also often referred to as gut fermentation syndrome. Marusak explained to the judge that his client’s digestive system can contain so much yeast that it actually functions like a brewery, which is what caused the high blood alcohol levels. The disease was first discovered in 1912, and was studied more in the 30’s and 40’s. Studies showed that a contributing factor to the disease is vitamin deficiencies and irritable bowel syndrome.
Actions of the woman on the day she was arrested
This incident happened back in 2014 when the woman spent about six hours consuming just four alcoholic drinks. Because this was less than one drink per hour, Marusak decided to hire a local pharmacologist to explain what normal BAC levels should be at. Based on size, weight, period of time, and amount of drinks the pharmacologist was able to determine the woman should of had a BAC level between 0.01 and 0.05, which is well in the legal limits. Of course with a .33 BAC level obtained from police, the woman was forced to the hospital because this is considered a life threatening level.
Attorney hires more tests
Marusak found all of this information to be crazy, which is why he hired two physician assistants and a Breathalyzer trainer to watch the woman while her blood alcohol levels were taken, over a 12 hour period. Their findings were surprising as her blood level was double the legal limit by 9:15 am, without have any alcoholic drinks. This evidence was enough to get the judge to dismiss her case. Unfortunately, the DA’s office plans to appeal the ruling, so there is a possibility for more court.
The woman is currently getting treatment for her condition through the use of anti-fungal medications. In addition, the woman is sticking to a strict yeast-free diet, which includes not eating sugars, drinking alcohol, and only consuming very low carbs.