Video Credit: AsiaWire
This video taken in a hospital operating theatre allegedly shows Chinese doctors removing two 20-inch eels – one of them still alive – from the abdomen of a male patient who swallowed them whole thinking they could cure his constipation.
The Asian swamp eels (Monopterus albus) reportedly tore through the man’s intestines and flooded his abdomen with faeces, which triggered a serious infection.
A spokesperson for Jiangsu Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, located in the city of Nanjing in East China, confirmed to Asia Wire that the male patient “has since been discharged from the intensive care unit”.
However, she declined to comment on whether the graphic social media video, which appears to show the two swamp eels being extracted from a patient on an operating table, did, in fact, originate from the facility.
The male patient, who has not been named, is said to suffer from constipation as well as trouble urinating due to prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate gland.
He was admitted to the hospital on 9th January a day after he swallowed both eels alive thinking it could relieve his symptoms, his doctor reported.
Sun Haijian, deputy head of general surgery, told local media that the patient showed with intense abdominal pain, and his body was going into shock due to the life-threatening bacterial infection.
Video Credit: AsiaWire / Jiangsu TCM Hospital
According to the medic, CT scans show the skeletons of both animals – also known as swamp eels or rice eels – curled up among his vital organs after ripping a hole in his colon and wriggling out of his digestive tract.
He said: “Looking at the two foreign bodies in the patient’s abdominal cavity, you can see two eels.
“You can see one’s head, body and tail, while the other’s neck is already broken and severed from its body.”
The eels were removed in emergency surgery, during which doctors found the patient’s abdomen filled with blood, water and faeces.
Doctor Sun said: “We opened him up and noticed a large amount of faecal water mixed with blood.
“There was severe swelling, and we found two very thick swamp eels at the bottom of his abdominal cavity.
“There was also a perforation in his colon measuring about 2 centimetres (0.8 inches). It caused the infection and sent his body into shock.
“We patched the hole in his intestine and cleaned his abdominal cavity, after which the patient was kept in intensive care.”
The medic added: “By the patient’s own description, he believed in a folk remedy and swallowed two live swamp eels on 8th January.
“He thought it could treat his chronic constipation and prostatitis.
“He began experiencing severe abdominal pain soon after, but he waited until the next day to seek medical attention.
“The eels were swallowed alive. His stomach was fine, but because the intestines are much thinner and more fragile, the eels managed to bite through and squirm out.
“A colonic perforation can flood the abdominal cavity with faeces and water.
“Digestive juices in the abdomen can also trigger serious infections which, if not treated right away, can prove fatal.”
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