LAS VEGAS -- The idea is to bring relief to tourists with stomach-churning wooziness, headaches and body pains symptoms that could ruin an entire day in Sin City.
A bus called Hangover Heaven rolls down Las Vegas Boulevard as visitors on the ugly side of alcohol are helped by doctor and board-certified anesthesiologist Jason Burke. He checks an intravenous fluid bag, hung from the ceiling, that drips a saline and vitamin solution into Bryan Dalia s left arm.
I did two bachelor parties, back-to-back, Dalia says, putting his hand to his forehead as he recalled steins of beer and shots of alcohol the previous afternoon and a night of gambling, dining and drinking martinis. Now he has a Las Vegas wedding to attend.
How are you doing now? medical technician Debra Lund asks.
Better, Dalia says. My palms aren t sweating anymore. I don t have that, like, cold sweat feeling anymore.
Dalia was one of the first patients of the mobile treatment center for tourists who drink in all the nightlife Las Vegas has to offer. For a fee, they get a quick morning-after way to rehydrate, rejuvenate and resume their revelry.
I m starting to feel great, Dalia said. This is really very cool.
Burke calls his business a medical practice on wheels, something like a physician with a mobile home offering X-rays, MRIs or mammograms.
I don t think that Hangover Heaven is promoting drinking. I m not eliminating hangovers, Burke said as he moved between patients seated on plush benches in the retrofitted, full-sized tour bus. The goal of the business is to get people back to their vacation. I m decreasing the length of time they re going to be hung over.
Burke said his goal is to arrive within an hour at the caller s hotel.
Once on the bus, treatment can take less than an hour for a $90 basic IV of saline solution, B vitamins and vitamin C. A premium package, $150, includes two bags. For an extra fee, Burke will bring treatment to a tourist s hotel room.
Burke administers the prescription anti-inflammatory Ketorolac or Toradol for pain and Zofran, also known as Ondansetron, for nausea. Acid heartburn can be treated with over-the-counter ranitidine. Patients get a shot of the anesthetic Lidocaine to numb the skin before the IV needle is inserted.
For the most part, it sounds safe, said Dr. Daliah Wachs, a family practice physician and national satellite radio medical talk show host based in Las Vegas. But this is kind of gutsy. He s taking a risk.
A patient could have an allergic reaction, Wachs said, or fail to fully report their medical history. For people with pre-existing conditions, Toradol can affect the kidneys, she said, and Zofran can trigger abnormal heart rhythm. There could also be complications for people with esophageal or stomach ailments from chronic alcohol abuse.
Still, Wachs said, emergency room physicians and clinic doctors have for decades provided hangover sufferers with IV drip banana bags so named for their yellow color.
I think many doctors are kicking themselves because they didn t think of this first, she added.
Burke said he uses small doses of the drugs.
This is a professional medical practice. We take a medical history, he said. I m not a cowboy. I m not going to grab someone off the street...without knowing their medical history. If they do have something that might be complicated, I ll refer them to an emergency room or tailor their treatment to avoid anything that might cause problems.
Prospective customers are advised they shouldn t drink alcohol for two hours before treatment, and can t arrive drunk. Walk-ups are turned away. Pregnant females are also declined. If they are pregnant ... they should not be drinking to excess in the first place, Burke says.
In a medical emergency, Burke said he is capable and qualified to use hospital-style crash cart equipment on the bus, including an automatic defibrillator, laryngoscope, pulse, blood pressure and oxygen meters, and emergency medications.
Word of mouth was already spreading. Passenger Cameron Byrd, a tourist from North Carolina, marveled at his feeling of recovery.
My friend just texted me and said, I feel like death, Byrd said, before responding with a solution: We re on the hangover helper bus.