Office party eggnog challenge lands man in hospital

SALES manager Ryan Roche admits he possesses a strongly competitive streak. But this Christmas it nearly killed him.

As the 33-year-old was about to leave his office Christmas party, someone suggested that the father-of-three try and break the firm's record for downing two pints of egg nog. Mr Roche should have headed home, but he could not resist the challenge.

As it was, he downed the quart of egg nog, knocking a good ten seconds off the previous record. But within hours, Mr Roche was feeling seriously ill and had to be taken to hospital. He ended up spending three days in hospital after doctors said they believed he had contracted pneumonia after the egg nog entered his windpipe and triggered an infection.

"Everyone knows I'm pretty competitive," Ryan Roche of Lehi, Utah, told ABC News. "I just decided I was going to win. So I pretty much just opened it up and poured it down my throat."

Video footage of the event shows Mr Roche downing the carton of egg nog, traditionally made from milk, cream, sugar, whipped eggs and brandy, while his colleagues chanted "chug, chug, chug". 

He can then be seen bending over. Having broken the record, Mr Roche left the party with his prize, a $50 voucher for Ruth's Chris Steak House.

But he said that within a few hours of getting home after the party on December 5, he began to feel unwell. Friends took him to hospital while his wife stayed at home with their children.

"Two hours later I was lying on the couch, shaking uncontrollably, nauseous, having fevers and panting," he said. At the hospital he was taken to the intensive care unit and put on antibiotics and a drip.

"The next few days my body would change from having a fever to shivering nonstop," he added. "It was like every hour on the hour it would change."

Mr Roche said the incident made him something of a celebrity in the hospital, where nurses and other staff commented on the fact that at least he had won the contest. However, it sparked warnings from health officials that anyone else thinking of partaking in seasonal eating or drinking challenges should think twice.

Now back home with his family, a rueful Mr Roche said he will not be repeating the challenge.

"I was never a big fan of it to begin with," he said of egg nog. "I could drink it again, but it's not my drink of choice."

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