Trading Vices

Doctors Alarmed by Man Who Quit Drinking and Started Swallowing Metal Nails and Screws

"We've never seen anything like it."

Oct 4 / Dan Robitzski
Futurism
Image by Futurism

Doctors in Lithuania recently cut open a patient’s stomach so that they could safely remove the roughly two-and-a-half pounds of miscellaneous metal objects that he had swallowed over the course of a month.

As the story goes, the man had quit drinking, but for one reason or another replaced it with an even more destructive vice, Agence France-Presse reports. It’s a bizarre case, but the doctors say that the man recovered and was resting in stable condition following the procedure.

If you’re not feeling too squeamish, feel free to check out the Lithuanian-language publication LRT, which published an image of the surgical tray full of all the nails, screws, nuts, and other metal bits that the man had swallowed.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” head surgeon Algirdas Slepavicius told AFP.

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The doctors told LRT that the surgery itself was fairly straightforward and that patients coming in after swallowing various objects all the time. But this particular surgery took a long time — about three hours — because of the sheer number of objects the man consumed. The doctors were also slowed down by the fact that they needed to frequently take and retake x-rays to ensure they found all of the small metal bits, which LRT reports ranged in size from two millimeters to an alarming 10 centimeters.

They also had to make sure that the sharp metal hadn’t pierced through the wall of his stomach, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Apparently the man hasn’t said much, according to LRT, but he’s currently under psychological care to try and figure out where his metal-eating habit came from and why.


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