Chinese nurses realized the true power of money when the smell of cash caused a man to emerge from a yearlong coma, news.com.au reported.

“It was extraordinary,” chief medic Dr. Liu Tang told Central European News. “I’ve never seen anything like it in 20 years as a doctor.”

Xiao Li, of Shenzen, China— immediately north of Hong Kong— had been lying unconscious in his hospital bed since August 2013. According to CEN, Li lost consciousness after spending a restless week at an Internet café researching business ideas.

Doctors tried to wake Li for months, but nothing worked— that is, until Li’s family told doctors that cash had been the thing the man loved most.

“When we learned about his fondness for money, we experimented with notes and change,” Tang said. “Memories of smell and sound can  be very powerful stimulants.”

A crisp, new 100 yuan note— equal to about $16.15— caused Li to rise from his slumber.

Doctors said that although the money helped Li regain consciousness, he has a while before he is discharged. “But he is making good progress,” Tang said.

Click for more of the CEN story from news.com.au.