Doctors removed 40 folding knives from the stomach of a man in India who had an insatiable urge to eat them, CNN reports.
The unidentified man swallowed knives for two months and finally had to have them surgically removed, according to the lead surgeon on the operation. Dr. Jatinder Malhotra said,
He had a wild urge to consume metal. Even for us, the experienced surgeons, it was frightening.
Malhotra added that they were extremely nervous about the procedure as even the tiniest mistake could cost the patient his life. He said in his 20 years of being a doctor, he had never seen anything like this.
It took Malhotra and his team two days to come up with a diagnosis and surgery plan. The entire operation took five hours, and was conducted in Amritsar, a city in northern India.
Upon cutting into the victim’s stomach, Malhotra said they found folding knives that could be extended up to seven inches long. The patient said he had swallowed some folded, some unfolded. Malhotra described some of the knives as rusting and broken.
The patient, a 42-year-old father of two, apologized to his family. “I’m sorry I let my family down. I’ll be forever thankful to doctors and hospital staff for saving my life.” He is now out of danger and is due for discharge in a few days.
When asked why he started eating knives in the first place, the patient said he had no idea. “I just enjoyed its taste and I was addicted,” he said, comparing it to an alcohol addiction or similar habits. He said he “developed a taste for metal” and that he “loved the way blades tasted.”
Malhotra thinks the man has a rare mental condition that most likely has not yet been discovered or published.
The man is set to undergo a psychiatric evaluation by independent mental health experts, doctors told CNN. As of now, he remains under the care of the hospital’s in-house psychiatric unit.
For now, the patient claims he will not touch another knife, because he is a “new person now.”