Extracting a rather large bottle gourd that had been shoved up a patient’s rectum may not be the most challenging surgeries Dr Avinder Sabherwal has done, but was certainly the most intriguing.
At 1.30am on Monday morning, Muhammad Wasim (real name withheld to protect the patient’s identity), 55, was brought to Jeewan Hospital near Ashram Chowk with excruciating pain in his lower abdomen.
Too embarrassed to mention the cause initially, it was only when he started bleeding later that morning that Dr Sabherwal took him to a quiet corner where he divulged his painful secret: he had an undigested vegetable up his arse.
“He claimed somebody had mischievously pushed the 18 cm long- and five cm wide vegetable up his anal passage when he was asleep,” said Dr Sabherwal. The disbelieving doctor did an ultrasound to verify his claim.
"In my 10 years of practice, I have never come across anything like this. I discussed the case with some of our senior doctors, who were equally perplexed and asked me to refer to books,” said Dr Sabherwal, general and laparoscopic surgeon at the hospital.
“I then called up my 80-year-old father who was a senior surgeon and had removed a torch from a man’s rectum. I followed his advice and did the surgery without opening his abdomen in 20 minutes, under general anaesthesia,” he said.
They took it out by inserting a grasper in his anal passage while simultaneously applying downward pressure from the abdomen to ensure that the gourd did not go higher up. Slowly, as the gourd was trapped into the clamp the doctors pulled it out. “If it had slipped up in the abdominal cavity, we would have been left with no choice but cut open his stomach,” said Dr Sabherwal.
The family is happy that Wasim is safe and healthy. “He is no longer constipated and is now asking for food," said his son-in-law. “I am fine now” was all Wasim said.