Lighter, razor blade found in Hanoi man’s body

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When doctors at Viet Duc Hospital performed an endoscopy on a 55-year-old man’s mouth, they did not expect to see a razor blade stuck in the back of his throat.

But that’s exactly what they found, plus some, Nguyen Duc Chinh, head of the hospital’s Department of Septic Surgery, said Friday. A further look inside the patient’s stomach revealed several more foreign objects, including a syringe, lighter, rocks, pebbles, and plastic bags. Most of the objects had turned black due to being in the stomach for so long, said Chinh.

“Surgery to retrieve the foreign objects felt like salvaging forgotten treasure from the depths of the sea,” he said.

According to the patient’s family, the man has been diagnosed with schizophrenia for 30 years. He had already undergone surgery at a local hospital a year prior, also to take foreign objects out of his body. He was taken to Viet Duc Hospital as he felt pain, unable to eat or swallow recently.

While a definite explanation for the unusual presence of the objects yet to be given, doctors said the man’s condition is similar to the Rapunzel syndrome, a rare intestinal condition in humans resulting from the ingestion of hair. The syndrome often occurs in psychiatric patients, with characteristics including trichobezoars in the stomach and bowel obstruction.

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