MARIETTA, GA – An inpatient pharmacy mix-up has led to a patient with alcohol withdrawal accidentally receiving banana bread instead of a banana bag, which has at least left him pleasantly surprised if not a little more satiated.
“Normally when I come in to detox they hang this yellow bag as my IV,” patient Stanley Watkins explained. He was admitted for worsening tremors and shakes; his last drink was about 3 days ago. “This banana bread is so darn good. Have you had it? Man, it is de-li-cious!”
The yellow bag to which Watkins is referring is known as a banana bag.
“A banana bag is a form of IV fluids that contains some combination of multivitamin, thiamine, folate, and magnesium, as a lot of these vitamins are low in patients with alcohol abuse histories,” explained pharmacist Dominick Ferro, still scratching his head about how this patient ended up with banana bread. He gestures towards his computer screen. “The order clearly says banana bag. I didn’t realize we carried or even made our own banana bread.”
A search on PubMed didn’t reveal much in terms of banana bread recipes, but we had more success on the allrecipes.com website. One banana bread recipe called for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup of butter, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 eggs, and, of course, 2 cups of mashed overripe bananas. Notably absent is 100 mg of thiamine, 1 mg of folate, and 2 grams of magnesium.
It remains unclear if banana bread can treat or prevent Wernicke encephalopathy, a condition characterized by ataxia, confusion, and ophthalmoplegia.
“At best it does, at worst it’s delicious,” said not-world-renowned neurologist Dr. Amy G. Dala. “I can’t say I blame Watkins for enjoying the stuff. It’s better than alcohol, that’s for sure. I’m just surprised he hasn’t asked for double portions.”
In related news, Watkins has just asked for a second loaf of banana bread.