Surgeon spends 30 mins sucking 700ml of urine out of man's bladder during flight to save his life


Melanie Lim| November 22, 05:15 PM

A doctor from China was lauded a hero after saving the life of an elderly man on a plane who could not pee by sucking the urine out of his bladder.

Interventional vascular surgeon Zhang Hong was on a flight from Guangzhou to New York when he responded to a call for urgent medical help for a 70-year-old man, according to Chinese media Hubei News.

China Press reported that the elderly man had around one litre of urine in his bladder that needed to be urgently removed, lest his bladder rupture.

Despite certain limitations, though, his life was eventually saved due in major part to Zhang's quick thinking and heroic act of manually sucking the urine out of his bladder.

Elderly passenger had 1L of urine in bladder, risked rupture & losing his life

The Chinese NZ Herald reported that around 1:55am on Nov. 19, 2019, China Southern Airlines flight CZ399 took off for America from Guangzhou airport.

While the flight was still six hours away from New York, however, a cabin announcement was made urgently seeking medical assistance.

Crew members took blankets and pillows from the crew lounge and made a temporary ambulance bed on the floor for the elderly man to lie down on.

Image via China Press

Responding to the announcement was Zhang, who is a Director of Interventional Vascular Surgery at Guangzhou Overseas Chinese Hospital, as well as another doctor named Xiao Zhanxiang, a vascular surgeon from the People's Hospital of Hainan Province, according to YCWB news.

The two discovered upon examination that there was almost one litre of urine in the unidentified elderly man's bladder, China Press reported.

If the urine was not discharged as soon as possible, the elderly man reportedly faced the risk of a bladder rupture, putting his life at risk.

Surgeons tried using emergency medical equipment to get urine out

The surgeons initially tried using the emergency medical equipment on board to solve the problem.

Xiao used the catheter on the portable oxygen cylinder mask, the syringe needle, a bottled milk straw and tape to make a puncture-and-urine-absorption device.

Xiao punctured the old man's bladder and intended to drain out the urine, but owing to limited space in the cabin and the difference in pressure, the urine could not be automatically drained.

In addition, the elderly man's bladder was so full that the device could not work properly.

Sucked 700-800ml out with mouth over 30+ minutes

Just when all hope seemed lost, Zhang reportedly used his mouth to suck the urine out from the man's bladder.

This way, he would also be able to control the speed and intensity of urine discharge.

And for the next half an hour or so, Zhang kept sucking the urine out, even though he reportedly felt like vomiting, and spitting it into a cup.

Image via YCWB news

Image via China Press

The cabin crew measured the amount of urine collected to help Zhang and Xiao better understand the patient's condition.

After Zhang helped suck out around 700-800ml of urine, the patient's condition gradually eased and stabilised till the plane landed five hours later.

"A doctor's job is to save people's lives"

In interviews with numerous media after the incident, Zhang, who has reportedly been a doctor for 30 years, said he did what he had to do in an urgent situation.

Image via YCWB news

“At that time, I could only think about how to suck the urine out. Actually I already felt nauseous on my second mouthful. It was definitely unpleasant,” YCWB quoted Zhang saying.

He said that the man stopped thrashing around after the first 10 minutes of him sucking out urine, and began to quieten after another 10 minutes — taking on the whole about half an hour to draw out the 700-800ml of pee.

Zhang also said he observed that the man was able to walk with assistance after the plane landed about five hours later, after resting across the back two rows of the cabin, helpfully cleared by the plane's crew.

Zhang was quoted saying, “As a doctor, your job is to cure the sick. I was just doing my job.”

Top images via China Press


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