Page last updated at 14:40 GMT, Friday, 28 November 2008

Handwash blamed for drink-driving

A surgeon scrubs up
The doctor blamed alcohol in the gel used to scrub up after surgery

A New Zealand doctor has been convicted of drink-driving, despite blaming an alcohol handwash he used at work.

Ian Denholm, 53, had pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying the surgical handwash put him over the legal limit.

The orthopaedic surgeon has been fined NZ$500 (US$275; 180) and had his licence suspended for six months by a Wellington court.

Denholm was pulled over on 6 July 2007 and admitted having up to two glasses of wine.

He recorded a breath alcohol level of 593 micrograms - over the legal limit of 400 mcg - when tested at a police station.

The doctor claimed his eczema provided an extraordinary ability to absorb alcohol in the hand wash gel he used to scrub up after operations.

The judge agreed to postpone his license suspension until 23 January as Denholm is the on-call surgeon over the Christmas holiday season.

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