Over 100 Nails Removed from 35-year-old's Abdomen - The New Indian Express

Over 100 Nails Removed from 35-year-old's Abdomen

Published: 07th August 2014 07:52 AM

Last Updated: 07th August 2014 03:24 PM

CHENNAI: For over four years, family members of 35-year-old Prema (name changed)  from Vyasarpadi thought she was under the spell of black magic as she started behaving abnormal. Having been on psychotic drugs for some time, it was not until a few months ago that an X-ray taken at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) revealed that the woman had been swallowing all kinds of metal objects — later numbered 152 — and her stomach was almost hanging close to the pelvic bone.

What surprised doctors was that the objects which included some 96 small nails and 23 large nails did not cause any injury to her food pipe and got safely accumulated in her stomach. Furthermore, the woman did not have any other adverse symptoms except for breathlessness and a bloated stomach.

“She was actually referred to us from the Institute of Mental Health. She was anemic and malnourished when she came to us,” said Dr S M Chandramohan, Head, Surgical Gastroenterology, RGGGH.

A team from the medical gastroenterology department performed an endoscopy which showed multiple foreign bodies in the entire stomach with nodules caused due to irritation of the sharp objects. The doctors decided to perform a surgery instead of removing the objects through endoscopy as the metal bodies were sharp.

Prior to the surgery, the woman’s overall condition was improved by giving blood, blood products, proteins and nutrition as she had gradual blood loss due to the sharp objects.

During the 90-minute surgery, doctors removed as many as 152 metallic objects including small and large nails, screws, broken bangle pieces, coins, a coat button, a hair pin, a key, a button battery and a magnet. Now, with regular follow ups, the 35-year-old has recovered quite well.

“With the nodules in her stomach, we had to first rule it out as cancerous. Also, when we opened her stomach during the surgery, it looked like a huge tumour. Luckily, the objects did not injure her food pipe and did not block her stomach. So she did not have symptoms such vomiting, pain in the abdomen or fever,” Dr Chandramohan said.

Elumalai, brother of the 35-year-old woman, said they initially thought she was possessed and would regularly take her to temples and witch doctors. “For the past 15 years, she never spoke properly. She would scream and behave abnormally. Only for the past five years, she has been undergoing treatment for her mental illness. But we never knew she had swallowed such objects,” he said.

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