NEW: University says it has no comment on Tuesday's news conference
Student called accusations that he and others used alcohol enemas "scandalous"
His attorney told reporters they plan to sue, but did not specify which organizations
Broughton had a blood alcohol level above 0.40, according to police
The University of Tennessee student at the center of a nationally publicized alcohol incident denied Tuesday that he ever used an alcohol enema.
Alexander Broughton, 20, admitted to reporters that he made a “bad choice” drinking last month, one that could have killed him.
“However the scandalous accusations surrounding that event never happened and I completely deny them,” he said at a news conference.
Broughton, a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, was hospitalized September 21 with a blood alcohol level well over 0.40 – five times the legal limit for driving – according to Knoxville police.
The case made national news when police said Broughton and some of his fraternity brothers had been using enemas containing alcohol.
“At this point my intent is to clear my name, my fraternity’s name and to punish those individuals and institutions responsible for the lies that have been spread around the world,” Broughton said.
His attorney, Daniel F. McGehee, said they intended to sue “whoever violated his HIPAA rights and his constitutional rights, and the list is as long as your arm.”
The university said Tuesday it would not comment.
McGehee said that his client passed out and was taken to the hospital after members of the fraternity drank wine as part of a “Tour de Franzia.” He described that as a party where one person holds up one of several bags of wine while another drinks from it.
A report from the University of Tennessee police department said after questioning fraternity members, officers believed fraternity members had used “rubber tubing inserted into their rectums as a conduit for alcohol.”
Twelve members of the fraternity were cited for underage drinking, one for disorderly conduct and the fraternity chapter was suspended, a university spokeswoman said.
McGehee said he went to the hospital the night Broughton was admitted and asked the student if he had been involved in using alcohol enemas.
“He looked at me like I’d lost my mind,” McGehee said.
Police said investigators found tubing and materials used to give alcohol enemas at the scene.
An alcohol enema involves placing a small tube into the rectum and pouring alcohol into the colon. Because the alcohol is then absorbed directly into the bloodstream, the recipient gets drunk faster.
Human stomachs and livers have an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase that breaks down ethanol to make it less toxic for our bodies, said Atlanta gastroenterologist Dr. Preston Stewart. The lower gastrointestinal tract doesn’t have that enzyme, so alcohol molecules are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the colon.
Eventually the alcohol would still make its way to the liver, Stewart said, but the high alcohol content would overwhelm the organ. “It’s extremely dangerous.”
CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.