This is the kind of thing that makes young people decide it’s not worth it to spend years in medical school and rack up huge student debts to become doctors. A man in Shenzhen, China, who had been in a coma for over a year was suddenly jolted back to consciousness when someone held a new 100 yuan note under his nose.
According to Central European News, in August 2013 Xiao Li spent a week in an Internet café working round the clock without stopping for sleep. When he finally did pass out, he couldn’t be awakened and was declared to be in a coma. None of the usual medications or treatments for coma worked on Li.
Hoping to get a reaction with a sensory stimulus, the hospital’s chief medic Dr. Liu Tang asked Li’s family for some help.
We had asked his family what really drove him, and they were very clear that it was money.
That’s right – money. Since Li was in a coma, putting cash in his hand or telling him he won the lottery wasn’t enough. Dr. Tang decided to stimulate his senses of smell and sound.
When we learned about his fondness for money, we experimented with notes and change. Memories of smell and sound can be very powerful stimulants. We found that a crisp, new 100 yuan note crumpled under his nose worked best.
It worked! The yuan got Li out of the coma and on the road to recovery.
Before you go filling your coma first aid kit with cash, remember that it was his love of money that caused Xiao Li to work without sleep for a week and end up in a coma in the first place. Also, 100 yuan is only worth about 16 U.S. dollars, not nearly enough to stimulate a doctor with a medical school loan to pay off to prescribe it. It would have to be at least 100,000 yuan.
If this were a sitcom, the smell of his hospital bill would put Li right back into the coma.