A team of surgeons received a surprise during an operation on a man complaining of pain in the abdomen. Twelve gold bars were found in his stomach. The man was said to have made a meal of the heavy bars before returning to India in the hope that he would evade increasing import duties.
The man, who was returning after a business trip to Singapore, had gone to a private hospital to seek medical attention after increasing stomach pain. He claimed to have angrily swallowed a plastic cap before he began vomiting while complaining of increased pain on his arrival to the hospital, which made the doctors decide to operate.
However, the surgeons were shocked when they found that the man’s stomach was in fact filled with 12 gold bars. One of the surgeons reportedly described the event as being “like a gold mine” when the little gold bars came out one after the other. Once the doctors had established that it was the gold that was causing the severe pain, they were able to locate the rest using a metal detector. They stated that the body’s natural reaction with this type of foreign object, is to push it forward. However, it was a delicate operation as the surgeons needed to be sure of the location of all the heavy metal before it was extracted.
Had the gold been left a few days longer inside the patient, he may have suffered septicemia, severe bleeding and the possible rupture of the intestine. Doctors believe because they operated quickly they were able to save the man’s life. Each bar was said to weigh 33 grams.
The man had planned to pass the bars, but they had become lodged in his small intestine. He reportedly tried everything to dislodge the metal, from laxatives to drinking lots of water. When he finally arrived at the hospital, he had not eaten for 10 days in the hope that this would allow the gold to pass through him.
The surgery was a high risk option as he is diabetic and has had several serious operations in the past, which include the removal of his gall bladder and appendicitis. The man is known at the hospital where he sees a doctor for regular treatments. They were very shocked that he would undertake such a risky endeavor.
The hospital has handed over the gold to the local police. Customs has promised to find out how the man was able to evade their security systems. A local customs official said that the rate of smuggled gold has gone up in recent months.
India rivals only China in its quest for gold consumption. Most Indian brides are draped in gold for their wedding day and it has been found to be a more stable currency. With the recent drop in the price of gold, more and more is being purchased. But the import tax on gold has been raised recently. It is said this was done in order to curb the lust for the heavy metal, but those who want to buy it will only discover new ways to smuggle it in. This man has proved just that by attempting to bring 12 bars into the country by way of his stomach.
By Sara Watson