South Korean doctors remove pebbles, bottle caps and coins from man's stomach in rare case

The patient, who was not identified and only described as a 54-year-old man, was first admitted to a hospital's emergency department of epigastric pain.
The patient, who was not identified and only described as a 54-year-old man, was first admitted to a hospital's emergency department of epigastric pain.PHOTO: PUBS.SCIEPUB.COM

SEOUL (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - In a rare case, doctors removed numerous pebbles, bottle caps and coins from a patient who ate them to "relieve his anxiety".

The patient, who was not identified and only described as a 54-year-old man, was first admitted to a hospital's emergency department of epigastric pain. This was shared by Dr Pyong Wha Choi of Inje University College of Medicine's Ilsan Paik Hospital in Goyang, South Korea, and published in the American Journal of Medical Case Reports.

Aside from his age, the patient was found born with mental retardation and had a 10-year-history of anxiety disorder.

During the time of his admission, doctors said that "something resembling small stones" were found in his stomach, and an X-ray showed many foreign bodies inside his body.

The patient admitted that in the past, he had a habit of eating pebbles and coins whenever he felt anxious, despite taking anti-anxiety medication.

To remove the objects, doctors first attempted gastroscopy, which involved a thin tube being inserted to the stomach via the mouth. Because of the amount of the objects, they then resorted to surgery to remove what they found were pebbles, coins and bottle caps, which weighed a total of around 2kg.

Dr Choi noted that while mentally retarded patients swallow objects accidentally, some, with psychiatric disorders, may swallow them on purpose.