Chinese food doesn’t have the best track record in encouraging a healthy intestinal tract, as anyone who’s eaten at a P.F. Chang’s can attest. But where most would simply ease their suffering with a mild laxative, the Chinese scoff at the idea of using Western medicine. It’s unnatural, and why cure something as natural as constipation with something unnatural?
Traditional Chinese Medicine Gone Wrong
In China’s Baiyun district, a 49-year-old man identified in the Guangzhou Daily newspaper only as ‘Liu’ hurried himself to the nearest hospital last week. The man was sweating profusely, rambling about how it felt like his gut had exploded. Nurses and doctors in the ward could immediately identify Liu wasn’t exaggerating, as it was clear that his stomach had swollen massively to the point of abnormality.
Within an hour Liu was unconscious and lying in an operating room where doctors were confronted with the closest thing to a real life ‘Chestburster scene’ from the film ‘Alien’. Inside the man’s abdomen was a live, 20 inch (about 50cm) long eel thrashing and biting to survive inside Liu. It had broken through his abdominal cavity and wrecked his insides. The dumbstruck doctors removed the animal and were able to save Liu’s life.
A recovering Liu told media and the hospital staff about how he had learned through stories in his area that a live eel was actually an effective remedy for constipation when inserted anally. With no trust in Western medicine, this was clearly the best alternative. So he had bought himself a fresh eel at the market and gone home to get to work clearing his bowels. Some could argue that he had succeeded in that, at least.
As remarkable as the case is, it’s not even the first time this situation has come up in the medical field. In 2010 a Sichuan man had died after his friend shoved an angry eel up his anus. The creature fatally destroyed the man’s insides. The friend’s defense? “It’s just a prank, bro.”