Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences’ (SGPGIMS) paediatric gastroenterology head has some rare collection to show.
He has coins but he can’t be called a numismatist. He has some corroded jewelry, but he can’t be called a curio collector either.
Dr Surendra K Yachha’s collection also has drawing pins, batteries, screws, seeds and pebbles, which he uses as an antidote to careless parenting. And now the secret—He has collected them all during his life-saving surgical ventures. And a majority of them have been infants.
Every article tells a horror story. Almost every drawer or shelf in Yachha’s office has a secret.
Showing a button cell (battery) he said: “A child who was less than two years old was rushed to us. Parents told us that he had swallowed the battery. We did the X-ray imaging and procedures to pinpoint its exact location in the gut. We used endoscopy technique to take it out. “
“If a child swallows a small coin, it may not be an emergency case, as a coin does not have sharp edges or chemicals. But a battery may prove dangerous, as it is very reactive. It should be taken out as fast as possible as the chemicals inside a battery may leak. Leaked chemicals may perforate stomach or intestine,” he said.
Then he showed a silver anklet that Indians generally put on an infant’s wrist or ankle as a tradition. He extracted it from another infant’s gut.
Children, generally infants, are very curious. They tend to use their mouth a lot to know the world around them. So, parents should be sensible and cautious about what is around a kid which he might swallow out of curiosity or accidentally, said the gastroenterologist.
On an average, Yachha had been performing three procedures every year since 1992. Now, the frequency of such cases coming to SGPGIMS is not what it used to be, but that does not mean that cases are not happening. Now, the endoscopy facility is available in almost every town.
In 1995, a seven-year-old girl accidentally swallowed a heart shaped gold locket (see picture). It was after seven days that she was brought to Yachha. While she reached the department, an edge of the locket perforated the carotid artery, and she started throwing out fountain of blood from mouth.
There was hardly any time as the artery is the big artery in the body and supplies blood to brain. “To save her life, we pressed her throat at a point, and then started pumping blood through syringes in her body, as there was no time to wait for normal blood transfusion procedure. And within minutes we performed operation and she could be saved. This was the first case in the world when a foreign body ruptured carotid artery, and still the life could be saved,” he said.