The bullet traveled through St. Martin’s stomach, tearing a hole right through! In 1822, little was known about digestion. One surgeon, William Beaumont, took this as an opportunity to experiment.
He observed food falling out of St. Martin’s stomach when he ate. He sampled the man’s stomach acid, and at one point, even licked the gaping hole, discovering that it didn’t have an acid taste until the stomach was actively digesting food.
He looked directly into the stomach and observed it’s motion. He poured in water with a funnel and put in food with a spoon, and drew them out again with a tube. He put pieces of meat on a string into the stomach, and removed them hourly for examination.
Beaumont trialed the effect of gastric juice with different kinds of food and measured temperature and acidity. By doing this, he proved that digestion required hydrochloric acid. Beaumont also demonstrated that gastric juice is produced only in response to food, and did not accumulate between meals as previously thought. He also disproved the idea that hunger is caused by the walls of the empty stomach rubbing against each other.
St. Martin eventually felt humiliated by Beaumont’s experiments and yearned to go back to trading. Several times he ran back to Canada to live a normal life, but each time, poverty brought him back to the doctor. Once, Beaumont even sent agents to track St. Martin down and bring him back for more experiments!
In the end, Beaumont performed approximately 200 experiments on St. Martin over a period of ten years.
In short, St. Martin was one helluva person! I can’t imagine someone experimenting on me asleep, let alone awake!
Source: Alisha Talks