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Metalloman saved by magnets

If you call this junk food, wait till you read & digest this story!!

If you call this junk food, wait till you read & digest this story!!

This is a really interesting case (not related to Breast Cancer), I came across while working at Safdarjang Hospital. It was 2 AM, when this 16 year old boy was wheeled into the surgical emergency accompanied by his parents. He had developed acute pain in the abdomen which started in the morning and was getting worse by the minute. My junior immediately examined the patient & told me that he would require surgery as he had developed peritonitis (due to perforation of his intestines). As he started explaining the situation to his parents, they quietly came to me and started telling me about his history. What they told me was quite shocking!! This boy was consuming all kinds of objects including glass, light bulbs, buttons, batteries and magnets for the last 3 years(imagine this boy walking through the scanner at the airport!…the security guards would have been perplexed 😉 ) . In the past 3 years he never complained of pain in the abdomen (despite consuming a myriad of objects), but ironically he developed this pain within a week of stopping his unique diet (his parents had found out a week back and kept him under strict surveillance).

Without any delay we took the patient for an emergency surgery and what we found inside was truly shocking (I had seen cases of many cases of hair balls or trichobezoar in the stomach but this was something I wasn’t prepared for). His small bowel had multiple perforations and there were metallic objects jutting out from all the places (I usually wear two pairs of gloves during surgery but due to the nature of the case I had to wear an extra pair). We had to remove 2 feet of his small bowel as it was not salvageable and after finishing the case we cut open the bowel to see what all was there in the pandora’s box. What we noticed was quite astonishing….all the metallic objects had got stuck to the magnets which he had consumed. This was the reason his disease was restricted to that portion of the bowel. Had he not consumed those magnets, almost whole of this bowel would have been affected. We separated the objects from the magnet and painstakingly divided them into various categories.

We retrieved close to 350 metallic objects from the jumbled mass and it included 2 high power magnets (which literally saved his life), around 80 small light bulbs, 10 button batteries & more than hundred of his mother’s & sister’s hair clips (they were not happy to hear about this 😉 ). We clicked multiple pictures of these objects and the bowel (for which I am thankful to the anaesthetist and the poor intern whom we woke up at 4 AM to go to the OR with us). Unfortunately, I cannot share the pictures at present (as I have sent this case for publication in an international journal) but will soon share them on the blog.

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18 thoughts on “Metalloman saved by magnets

  1. awesome case sir, its sounds so fascinating and interesting, i can even imagine the thrill while reading it and it appears like that its happening in front of me, really missed a chance to experience such a case.. you are very lucky sir 🙂

    • It was quite an experience and I was very lucky that the case got posted at 5 AM (usually the anaesthetists don’t post a case at that time but that night the on call anaesthetist was very co-operative).

  2. habits may ruin us and save us both… nice case sir and your writing was pretty descriptive too loved goin through it.. keep writing sir 🙂

  3. Wat a case sir…. !! Seriously astonishing….. although may sound weird to hear bt u hv beautifully presented it… 🙂

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