Acute poisoning with mercury bichloride is not common today. Recently, we had the opportunity to treat a hospital employee within minutes after he ingested 4 to 8 gm of mercury bichloride. Nevertheless, he developed acute renal failure. In conjunction with peritoneal dialysis we were able to collect and analyze data on the peritoneal clearance of mercury.
A 35-year-old male hospital pharmacy employee ingested 4 to 8 gm of mercury bichloride and several glutethimide (Doriden) tablets. He was immediately taken to the emergency ward; gastric lavage with sodium bicarbonate and milk was begun within five minutes of ingestion and 350 mg of dimercaprol (BAL) was given intramuscularly within 30 minutes. The gastric lavage initially returned copious amounts of bluish tinted material but soon turned bloody. Within several minutes the patient was complaining of burning abdominal pain and excessive salivation.The patient had been hospitalized for hypertension and mental depression