Hospital workers are constantly experiencing career firsts thanks to the unusual ways patients end up in the emergency room, as was the case for a team of Indian doctors when they treated a prison inmate earlier this week.
Doctors at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) had to remove a mobile phone from the prisoner's stomach after he swallowed it for fear of being caught with it during a police raid in India's Gopalganj prison.
Kaushar Ali, who is three years into a sentence for drug trafficking, started experiencing stomach pains soon after swallowing the device. Police rushed him to the Patna-based hospital, where staff performed X-rays and discovered the nine-centimetre phone stuck in his stomach.
Doctors successfully retrieved the mobile through Mr Ali's mouth using an endoscopic machine, managing to avoid surgical intervention, a first for many of the medical professionals involved.
Dr Manish Mandal, medical superintendent at IGIMS, said this was the only time he'd removed a gadget of this size from a patient. "In my 25 year medical career, this was the first such case that a patient was admitted after swallowing a mobile phone," he said. "It was a strange case."
Mr Ali was reportedly on a phone call when prison authorities arrived without warning for a surprise inspection of his cell. As phone use is banned at the facility, he swallowed the device to avoid punishment.
Echoes of recent Aussie case
The prisoner's medical emergency comes weeks after a 14-year-old Australian boy presented at Royal Adelaide Hospital after inserting a golf ball into his anus. Although he wasn't in pain, X-ray scans showed the ball had lodged itself into his sigmoid colon, the last part of the large intestine.
After an intense two-hour plus procedure of trying to physically extract the ball while the boy was under general anaesthetic, including using a suction cup, medical net, quad-prong grasper and a balloon catheter, doctors gave the boy a litre of laxatives and he successfully pushed out the ball three hours later, a medical journal reported.
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