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Youth swallows lock, doctors cut open his throat to remove it

Youth swallows lock, doctors cut open his throat to remove it


Sumesh Rajan

Mumbai: 25 February 2020

The life of a 22-year-old mentally challenged youth who swallowed a lock, was saved by doctors in India who carried out an emergency and challenging surgery to remove the lock that had got stuck in the man’s food pipe.

Jitendra Kumar is undergoing psychiatric treatment for his mental condition and was confined to his home at Taratand in Jhumri Telaiya town of Jharkhand state. To keep him from wandering away, his family kept him restrained with a chain and lock.

On February 13 evening at about 5 pm he somehow opened the lock and swallowed it up. Unfortunately, the 6 cms long lock got stuck in his throat and he started gasping for air. Seeing him groan in pain, his family rushed him to Sadar Hospital at Koderma, around 8.6 kms from their home. As Sadar Hospital was not equipped to treat Kumar, the doctors there referred him to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Hospital at Ranchi, a further distance of 159 kms.

After an agonizing ride of over 4 hours, a squirming Jitendra was finally admitted to RIMS in the wee hours of February 14.

“The patient was brought to our hospital at around 12.30 am gasping for breath. An x-ray was immediately taken to determine the exact spot where the ingested lock had got stuck. Following this, we decided to carry out emergency surgery to have it removed,” said Dr Pradeep Kumar Singh, Head of the Ear, Nose, and Throat Department of RIMS, Ranchi.

He added, “As the lock was around 6 cms in size and had got tightly wedged in the food pipe, it couldn’t be removed by non-invasive endoscopy procedure. Left with no other option, and to save Jitendra’s life, we decided to go for an open surgery to have the foreign body removed.”

The surgery which was conducted on February 14 itself lasted for about one and a half hours, and the lock weighing around 200 grams was successfully removed.

The surgery was conducted by Dr Zahid Mustafa Khan and his team including Dr Sangeeta, Dr Nibha, Dr Raghini, anesthetists Dr Khanna and Dr Shalini.  

“The patient is still admitted to the hospital and is undergoing post-operative treatment. As of now, he is being administered food through a nasal tube as the operated area will take about 10 to 12 days time to heal. The patient is doing fine and will be discharged soon,” said Dr Singh.

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