One of the more common acts of surgical negligence we see involves surgical instruments getting left inside patients. But doctors in Egypt witnessed something quite peculiar when a patient turned up at Aswan University Hospital with severe abdominal pain on Friday night.
A couple of x-rays and medical examinations were carried out. It was found that there were severe infections in the abdomen and intestines. The hospital’s surgical staff decided to perform surgery on the man. During the surgery, they extracted a foreign body from his stomach, which turned out to be a mobile phone.
Speaking to a local media outlet, Mohamed El-Dahshoury, Chairman of the Board of Directors (BOD) of Aswan University Hospitals said that it is the first incident of its kind that the hospital received a patient who swallowed a mobile phone.
Additionally, the BOD explained that the phone was in the patient’s stomach for more than 6 months. It led to preventing food from being digested and caused painful cramps.
The patient had also stunned doctors by admitting that he had swallowed the device six months ago. However, he had been too embarrassed to admit himself to the hospital. Instead, he just hoped that he would pass it naturally.
This was wishful thinking though, and he ended up being admitted for emergency surgery to treat life-threatening injuries. The patient’s condition is now stable. However, it is not known as to why or how he swallowed the mobile phone.
Not so rare
Interestingly, incidents of adults swallowing cellphones are rare but not as rare as one would think. In Sept, a Kosovo surgeon successfully removed a mobile phone from the stomach of a prisoner after he had swallowed the entire device.
The patient told the doctors that the phone was in his stomach for four days. The medical team believed that the device was smuggled into the prison where he was serving his sentence to be used illegally to contact the outside world.
While this is obviously an extremely unusual procedure for a doctor, surgeons in the United States had to deal with a very similar case. A 7 kg hairball was removed from the stomach of a person. The patient reportedly had a hair-pulling habit — an extremely rare medical condition called Rapunzel Syndrome — and trichophagia i.e. ingestion of hair.
By the way, did you know that people with certain mental health conditions may develop pica — an eating disorder in which people compulsively eat one or more nonfood items — as a coping mechanism? Some people may even enjoy and crave the textures or flavors of certain nonfood items.
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