Doctors Remove 40 Pocket Knives from Man’s Stomach

“I don’t know why I used to swallow knives. I just enjoyed [the] taste and I was addicted,” a police officer from India told Reuters News Agency. The 42 year-old man was hospitalized after consuming 40 pocket knives over the course of two months. “I was addicted .. how people get addicted to alcohol and other things, my situation was similar.”

He was able to keep his addiction a secret from his family, but things came to a head when he began to experience severe abdominal cramps and found himself unable to walk. Doctors were unsure of a diagnosis until a CT scan showed the shocking source of the problem. The opened blades in the patient’s stomach were causing severe internal bleeding, and Dr. Jatinder Malhotra said that the man would not have survived much longer without medical attention.

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On Friday, a nerve-wracking five-hour operation led by Dr. Malhotra resulted in the complete removal of the pocket knives from the patient’s stomach. The knives, which appear to be Sanrenmu slipjoint folders, have clip point blades, steel liners, and a bail or lanyard loop at the base of the handle. The patient ate some open, and some closed, and according to Malhotra some had broken up and began to rust. Some of the knives had an overall length of seven inches. If each knife weighed just 3 oz., the patient would have been carrying 7.5 lbs of knives in his stomach, about the weight of a healthy newborn baby.

Dr. Malhotra suspects an obscure, psychological problem may be behind the addiction. Others have suggested pica, a little-understood disorder that results in sufferers eating non-nutritive substances like metal, as a possible diagnosis. Dr. Malhotra says that in 20 years of practice he has never seen anything like this case. The surgery team at Amritsar Corporate Hospital joked with the patient, telling him that if he wants more iron in his diet he should stick to spinach.