A HUMAN ‘pin cushion.’ And it seems to be the first case of its kind in Indian medical history.
With hundreds of pins and sewing needles he has pierced into his body, Anil Kumar Jha of Konch (Jhansi) is a medical mystery for doctors.
Anil says he got the idea in his dreams. He believed such penance would improve the health of his two-year-old daughter Shivani, who had poor growth.
Since 1996, Anil kept on placing pins under his skin (epidermis). First, he did so once a week.
With gradual improvement in the girl’s health, Anil reduced the practice to once or twice a month. Surprisingly, his body tissues accepted the foreign bodies without leaving any mark.
This continued for years. Now, his hands, legs, head and even belly have dozens of pins under the skin. He still carries at least 400 pins and needles in his body.
However, two months ago, the pins in the chest broke the lung wall. Pus formed in the lungs (pleural cavity).
Turned away by hospitals in Delhi and Chennai, Anil was brought to Lucknow. He was admitted as a patient of empyema thoracic in the General Surgery Department at King George’s Medical University.
“It’s the rarest of rare case we have come across. He was comfortable with the pins. The problem arose when the lung wall was damaged,” said Dr Vinod Jain, who, along with a team, operated on Anil.
Treating Anil was a challenge. It took several rounds of discussion for surgeons Dr Vinod Jain, Dr Sandip Tiwari and Dr Akhilesh Majhi to decide the line of treatment.
Finally, they concluded that only minimal access surgery (MAS), a technique that doctors of the department have pioneered in, could save the man.
Surgeons used thoracoscopy to bring out half-a-dozen needles and pus from the lungs, giving the patient a new lease of life. The entire process took 90 minutes.
While doctors worry about the other pins, Anil is recuperating at the post-operative ward of the New Surgical Block, least interested in getting rid of the remaining ones.
During pre-operative sessions, Neuro-Psychiatry Department doctors suggested pin-piercing might be a result of Schizophrenia. But it hardly matters for Anil.
“I am fine now and doctors say I will be discharged soon,” he says.