'Zinc helps in body-building': Delhi man swallows 39 coins, 37 magnets

10:01 AM Feb 27, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: Doctors at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital took out 39 coins and 37 magnets from a man’s intestine by surgery. The patient, who was suffering from a psychiatric illness, reportedly swallowed the coins and magnets under the assumption that zinc helps in body-building.


The incident came to light when a 26-year-old patient came to the emergency ward of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital with complaints of repeated vomiting and abdominal pain for more than 20 days. The patient was also not able to eat anything.

The patient was first attended by the senior consultant, Dr Tarun Mittal in the outpatient department. The patient’s relatives said that he had a history of eating coins and magnets for the past few weeks. The patient was also on treatment for a known case of psychiatric illness.

The patient’s relatives had an x-ray of his abdomen, which showed radio-opaque shadows in his abdomen with the shape of coins and magnets. A CT scan of the abdomen showed a huge load of coins and magnets causing blockage of the intestine. The patient was immediately prepared for the surgery.

During surgery, it was found that the magnets and coins were present in the small intestine in two different loops.


The magnetic effect pulled the two loops together and eroded it. The intestines were opened and the coins and magnets were taken out. Both the loops were rejoined by two different anastomoses.

His stomach was inspected and a huge load of coins and magnets were also found there. His stomach was subsequently opened up and all the coins were extracted and his stomach was repaired.

Doctors said that a total of 39 coins (Rs 1, 2, 5 coins) and 37 magnets (heart, spherical, star, bullet and triangle shapes) were recovered from his stomach.

The doctors took an operative X-ray of the patient after the surgery, which showed that all the foreign bodies had been removed. They also said that the patient tolerated the procedure well and was discharged in healthy condition after seven days.

On probing the patient, he said that he had ingested the coins and magnets because he thought that zinc helps in body-building.

The coins contained zinc and he ingested the magnets so that the coins would stay in the intestine to facilitate more absorption of zinc.

The team of doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital included Dr Tarun Mittal, Dr Ashish Dey and Dr Anmol Ahuja (consultants); Dr Vikram Singh (clinical assistant); Dr Tanushree and Dr Karthik (residents).


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