Doctors in northern India surgically removed 40 knives from the stomach of a policeman who had swallowed them over the past two months, one of the physicians said Tuesday.
The 42-year-old patient is recovering in a hospital in Punjab state after undergoing surgery Friday in which doctors removed the knives — some folded and some with exposed blades up to 7 inches long.
Dr. Jatinder Malhotra, who assisted during the five-hour operation, said the police constable was apparently suffering from a psychiatric disorder and is now being counseled.
"In my 20-year career, and in all the medical literature that we checked, there has never been a case like this one, where a person has swallowed not one, but 40 knives," said Malhotra, a critical care doctor at the Corporate Hospital in Amritsar.
"He told us he would swallow the knives along with a glass of water," Malhotra explained. "He had no explanation for why he did it. Just an urge."
The man, who has not been identified, had come to the hospital two weeks ago complaining of severe pain in his abdomen.
A team of two surgeons, two critical care physicians and an anesthetist conducted the surgery, during which they initially removed 28 knives. But further investigation revealed 12 more, the hospital said.
Since the surgery, the man has told doctors that he can't bear to look at another knife. "He even asked his wife to get out of the room when she was cutting some fruit for him," Malhotra said.