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'Highest number' ever: Ireland Doctors Perform Challenging Medical Surgery After Woman Swallows Over 50 Batteries

Curious bafflement as a team of surgeons in Ireland's St. Vincent's University Hospital removes 55 AA and AAA batteries from a 66-year-old woman's stomach.


Image: Irish Medical Journal

Doctors in Ireland recently dealt with an unusual case of a patient who had ingested more than 50 AA and AAA cylindrical batteries. The incident came to light when a report was published on Thursday by the Irish Medical Journal, detailing the patient’s arrival at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.  

Upon the arrival of the 66-year-old female to the hospital, an X-ray was conducted that revealed the foreign objects in her body. As a first reaction, the doctors were relived to find that none of the batteries were obstructing her gastrointestinal tract and no batteries showed signs of structural damage. 

How was the ‘unusual case’ treated? 

The doctors initially decided to wait for the woman to pass the batteries out of her body. Over a one-week period, the patient managed to release five AA batteries. However, subsequent X-rays showed that most were still stuck inside. 

Following the patient’s complaint of abdominal pain, the doctors realized that the distended stomach of the woman was hanging above her pubic bone due to the weight of the remaining batteries that were still stuck inside.  

After the discovery, a team of surgeons decided to cut a small hole into her abdomen to remove 46 additional batteries from it that included both AA and AAA types. 

However, despite the surgery, four batteries had remained trapped in the colon. As explained in the report, doctors “milked” the batteries into the patient’s rectum to remove them from her anus. This brought the total number of batteries she ingested to a whopping 55. 

“To the best of our knowledge, this case represents the highest reported number of batteries ingested at a single point in time,” surgeons said as per the journal.

Although the incident caused curious bafflement, the report also informed the readers that the ingestion of batteries is considered as a serious method of self-harm. The authors of the report published by the Dublin based hospital noted that the act can cause severe medical issues, including “mucosal injury, perforation and obstruction.” 

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